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Home > Family > France > 2002-09-24 - Court of cassation, n. 00-15.789

2002-09-24 - Court of cassation, n. 00-15.789

Family · France · Marriage · Polygamy

Because the first spouse was French at the time of the first marriage, the second marriage between Frenc nationals is necessarily void

Key facts of the case - Mr A. had married Mrs M. according to the Christian Maronite rite. Later on he became a Sunni Muslim and married Mrs C., a French national, in Egypt. The first marriage had not been dissolved and Mr A. was accordingly bigamous. The public prosecutor of the court of Nanterre has filed an annulment action of the second marriage. The Court of appeal later confirmed that the marriage could neither produce any effect in France nor benefit from the theory of the putative marriage.

Main reasoning of the court - The Court of cassation refers to article 170 of the civil code and upholds both rulings. It considers that a marriage formed abroad with a bigamy statute for one of the spouses is not necessarily void in France, provided that domestic laws of each spouse authorises the bigamy. Considering that Mrs. M. has been a French national since 1985 and that she was submitted to article 147 of the civil code provisions, the marriage is void.