The Republic Of Mexico
: Japanese Fairy Tales
Mexico is a federative Republic composed of twenty-seven States, three
Territories and a Federal District.
Under the present Constitution, which is dated February 5, 1857, each
State has the power to control its own local domestic concerns and to have
its own separate executive, legislature and judiciary.
The Civil Code of the Federal District (El Codigo Civil de Distrito
Federal) was enacte
simply for the Federal District and the Territories
of Lower California, Tepic and Quintana Roo, but each of the twenty-seven
States have in their respective Civil Codes adopted the provisions of the
Federal Civil Code, especially with reference to the law of marriage and
divorce. Therefore, we find it unnecessary to deal with each State
MARRIAGE.--The courts of Mexico, following the Federal Code, define
marriage as the lawful co-partnership of one man and one woman united for
life in an indissoluble bond to perpetuate their species and to render
each other mutual assistance, fidelity and sympathy in bearing together
the burdens of life.
The law does not recognize in any manner future espousals, nor any
conditions contrary to the legitimate purposes of marriage.
Marriage must be preceded by the statutory preliminaries and be celebrated
before authorized officials with all such formalities as are by law
A male must be at least 14 years of age and a female at least 12 years of
age to contract marriage, unless a dispensation from the superior
political authority is obtained permitting marriage at an earlier age.
Such a dispensation can only be obtained in exceptional cases and for good
Parental consent is required for the marriage of both males and females
under the age of 21 years. If the father is dead the consent of the mother
is sufficient. If both the father and mother are dead then the consent of
the paternal grandfather will suffice. If he is also dead the paternal
grandmother must give consent. In the event of both paternal grandparents
being dead the maternal grandparents take their place and exercise the
IMPEDIMENTS.--The impediments to marriage are:
1. Incapacity of the parties, as when one or both are under age.
2. Absence of the consent of parents or of the person exercising the
rights of a parent.
3. Mistake as to the identity of either party.
4. Relationship within the prohibited degrees.
CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--Marriages are prohibited between ascendants
and descendants; between brothers and sisters of the whole or half blood;
between uncles and nieces; aunts and nephews, and all other persons
related by blood or marriage within the third degree.
The laws of Mexico recognize no relationship other than one by
consanguinity and affinity.
Each generation constitutes a degree, and the series of degrees constitute
the line of relationship.
A. A marriage is prohibited when either of the intending parties has a
husband or wife still living.
B. If one of the parties has made an attempt against the life of the
husband or wife of the other with the intention of marrying the survivor.
C. If one of the parties has obtained the apparent consent of the other by
fear, coercion or duress.
D. If either of the parties is permanently and incurably insane.
FORMALITIES.--Parties intending to conclude marriage must personally
appear before the judge of civil status of the domicile of either party,
and state their intention. The judge will thereupon make an entry in a
register kept for that purpose of the names, occupations and domiciles of
both of the contracting parties, the names, occupations and domiciles of
their parents, if the same be ascertainable, the names, occupations and
domiciles of the witnesses whom the parties present to the judge as
knowing the legal capacity of the parties, and proof of the consents of
the parents, or of such persons as are lawfully exercising the rights of
If either of the contracting parties has been previously married the judge
must require proper evidence that the former consort is dead.
If it appears that there exists any impediment to the intended marriage
which could be removed by a dispensation from the superior political
authority such dispensation must be exhibited.
Upon the judge receiving the required proof that the parties may be
legally married he will cause a copy of the record to be posted in a
conspicuous place in his office for 15 days, and two similar copies must
be posted in the usual public places. If, during the publication as
aforesaid, and for three days thereafter, no valid opposition is made by
any one to the marriage, it becomes the duty of the judge, upon request of
the parties, to fix the place, day and hour for the celebration.
A marriage must be celebrated in public at the place and time previously
fixed by the judge. The parties must appear in person or by their
specially appointed proxies, and be attended by at least three adult
witnesses, who may be relatives.
The parties, by themselves, or by their specially appointed proxies, must
formally declare to the judge in the presence of the witnesses their
intention to take each other as husband and wife, upon which declaration
the judge shall pronounce them man and wife and make an official record of
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF MARRIAGE.--Husband and wife are obliged to be
faithful to each other, and each must contribute his or her part to the
objects of the marriage. They are under mutual obligation to succor and
protect one another and to render each to the other affection and
It is a wife's duty to live with her husband and to follow him wherever he
may choose to go and accept his selection of a conjugal home.
A husband is obligated to provide alimentation (alimentos) to his wife
even though she may have brought no property into the marital community.
By alimentation is meant not only necessary food, but raiment and things
of personal necessity and comfort commensurate with the husband's ability
to make such provision. The husband owes his wife the duty of protecting
her person and reputation.
The wife must obey her husband in domestic concerns, in the matter of
training and educating the children of the marriage and in all affairs
connected with the common property and the household.
If the wife has property of her own she must furnish alimentation (food,
clothing and lodging) to her husband when he is in want and cannot obtain
it for himself.
If a husband proposes to leave the Republic to live in a foreign land the
wife may apply to the courts to be relieved from the usual duty of
adopting her husband's residence.
The husband is the legitimate representative and manager of all of the
property of the marriage. He is ordinarily his wife's representative in
legal proceedings. A wife generally cannot appear either personally or by
attorney in a suit at law without her husband's authorization in writing.
If she is of full age a wife does not require her husband's authorization
in the following instances:
A. To defend herself in a criminal action.
B. To bring a suit against her husband.
C. To devise or bequeath her own separate property by a will.
D. When her husband is in what the Mexican lawyers call a state of
interdiction, as, for example, when he is under guardianship or insane.
E. When she is in business on her separate account and the suit or
proceeding relates to such business.
DIVORCE.--It is in the chapter of the Civil Code entitled "Del divorcio"
that we find the statutory provisions concerning divorce. The chapter
begins by stating positively that divorce (divorcio) does not dissolve
the bonds of matrimony. We must remember that the Federal Code is founded
upon the Spanish Code, and that both Mexico and Spain, being historically
Roman Catholic countries, reflect the leading dogmas of the Catholic
Church in their civil jurisprudence. What is called a divorce in Mexican
law is at the most a separation from bed and board. It simply suspends
certain of the civil obligations and effects of marriage.
CAUSES FOR DIVORCE:
1. Adultery of the wife under any circumstances.
2. Adultery of the husband, if the adultery is committed in the conjugal
home, or if the husband is living in concubinage, or if the husband's
adultery causes a public scandal and attracts public contempt or insult to
the wife, or if the wife has been ill used by word or deed by her
husband's paramour or on account of her.
3. If the husband proposes or plans to prostitute his wife, or accepts
from a third person any money, article or valuable consideration for the
purpose of effecting such prostitution.
4. When either spouse instigates or encourages the other to commit a
5. The attempt by positive acts by either husband or wife to corrupt their
children or by deliberately permitting third persons to practice such
6. Abandonment without just and legal cause of the conjugal home (casa
comun), or if there is just and legal cause for such abandonment, to
remain away for one year or more without beginning a suit for divorce.
7. Cruelty, threats or injury of a serious nature by one spouse against
8. False accusation of a grave nature made by either party against the
9. The refusal, or wilful neglect, of one spouse to furnish alimentation,
or support, to the other, in accordance with law.
10. Incorrigible vices of gambling or drunkenness.
11. The existence of a chronic and incurable disease which is hereditary
or contagious afflicting one of the spouses previous to the marriage, of
which the other spouse had no knowledge when the marriage was concluded.
12. If the wife gives birth to a child conceived before marriage, which
child has been judicially declared illegitimate.
13. An infringement or violation of the marriage settlements
14. Mutual consent of the parties.
PROCEEDINGS FOR DIVORCE.--Even if the spouses consent to a divorce there
must be a formal legal proceeding. In such a case the suit is begun by a
petition to the judge setting forth clearly the consent to divorce and the
agreement of the parties as to the maintenance of the wife, the custody of
the children and the disposition or division of the property held in
When such a petition is filed it becomes the duty of the judge to summon
the parties before him and to endeavour to effect a reconciliation.
In a suit where the spouses do not mutually consent to a divorce, it is
still the legal duty of the judge to attempt a reconciliation of the
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE.--While the Mexican law does not recognize absolute
divorce it does provide for the annulment or setting aside absolutely of
certain marriages. Marriages are voidable and may be annulled in the
courts on the following grounds:
A. If the parties are related within the prohibited degrees of
consanguinity and affinity.
B. If the parties, or either of them, were incapable by reason of non-age
or otherwise of legally concluding marriage.
C. If the necessary parental consent, or consent of the person exercising
the patria potestad, was not had.
D. If the marriage was irregular or contrary to law, as, for example, if
the proper publication was omitted, or no witnesses attended the
E. If there exists in either party, and existed before the marriage, an
incurable impotency for copulation.
Want of legal age of either party is not a ground for annulment if a child
is born, the issue of the union.
And if either party, or both, were under the legal age at the time of
marriage, a decree of annulment will not be granted if, upon becoming
twenty-one years of age, the spouses continue to cohabit together.
Such marriages as we have pointed out above are not void, but voidable,
and any of the grounds sufficient for annulment may be waived by the
EFFECTS OF DIVORCE.--Divorce can only be granted to the innocent party,
and suit therefor must be brought within one year after the petitioner
discovers the facts which constitute a legal cause for a decree.
The innocent party, pending the action, or even after the final decree,
may require the other party to resume the marriage relationship.
The most usual effect of a divorce is a physical separation of the
If the wife is the guilty party she may, on her husband's suggestion, be
directed by the judge to live in a certain house, for the protection of
the good name of the husband.
Upon the finding of a decree of divorce, if the parties have not reached
an appropriate agreement, the judge will make such directions as to the
maintenance of the wife, custody of children and division of common
property as justice may require.
FOREIGN MARRIAGES.--Marriages concluded between foreigners in a foreign
country, which are valid in that country, will be recognized as valid for
all civil effects in Mexico.
A marriage between a Mexican citizen and a foreigner, or between two
Mexican citizens, and concluded in a foreign country, will be valid for
all civil effects in Mexico, provided such marriage was concluded
according to the law of the foreign country and is not in violation of the
Mexican laws as to the prohibited degrees of relationship, capacity to
contract and consent of persons in loco parentis.
Foreign laws (leyes extranjeras) must be established as matters of fact
by the persons relying upon their existence, and their application to
questions at issue must also be shown.
Within three months after a Mexican citizen who has concluded marriage in
a foreign country returns to the Republic, he or she must cause the
inscription of the celebration to be entered in the Civil Register of his
or her domicile.