Monday, August 07, 2017

In Re Marriage of Garcia (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 4, 2017)

Florencia:  "I've had it.  We've been married for 24 years, 7 months, but we're not making 25.  I'm filing for divorce."

Juan:  "Fine.  But guess what?  We were never actually married."

Florencia:  "What?!  That's absurd."

Trial Court:  "Yep, Juan's right.  You were never actually married.  Divorce petition dismissed."

Florencia:  "Okay, then.  New lawsuit.  I was a putative spouse.  Because I definitely thought I was married to you.  So give me the same relief."

Juan:  "I've got some Latin words for you.  'Res judicata'.  You already lost.  You can't sue me again."

Court of Appeal:  "Not so fast.  This is California.  A 'nullity' action is a different primary right than a 'divorce' action.  So the lawsuit can continue."

That's essentially the dialogue that underlies this opinion.