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1956-03-06 - Court of cassation, Moreau

Family · France · Marriage · Polygamy

Application of the law on civil effects of marriage to spouse of good faith, although there is a bigamous marriage

Key facts of the case - The marriage between a French national and a Jewish Syrian had been celebrated by a rabbi in Damascus, while he was already married with a French woman. The court of appeal of Paris decided that the marriage was void on ground of bigamy but recognized the good faith of the Syrian wife, in application of French law pertaining to putative marriage, since it was the law application to the husband.

Main reasoning of the court - In the case at hand, the court of cassation applies it “Rivière” case law of 1953, relating to the determination of the law on effects of marriage. In the “Rivière” case, it was decided that effects of marriage should be regulated by the law of the country in which the spouses live and not anymore by the law of the husband’s country.

However, it upholds the solution adopted by the court of appeal of Paris. Although the French law nullifies bigamous marriage, Article 201 and 202 of the Civil code should apply. Accordingly, the nullified marriage provides civil effects for spouse of good faith and children.