Golden Gate University Law Review


Timothy Follett


In California, a party may be able to obtain an annulment for fraud under In re Marriage of Ramirez. In Ramirez, the husband was carrying on relations with his wife’s sister prior to the marriage. The affair between the husband and sister continued after the marriage. Subsequently, Jorge (husband) was overheard stating to the sister that he loved her and “they would be together once he got his share of money and property from Lilia [the wife], and told her that he had only married Lilia to gain permanent residence status.” The trial court “held that this kind of fraud goes to the heart of the marital relationship and declared the 2001 marriage void on the ground of fraud.” The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of an annulment based on Jorge's fraud.

This Article will argue that fraud based on fidelity was properly promulgated in Ramirez. Part I of this Article offers background on the basis of the Ramirez decision, fraud based on fidelity. Part II of this Article shows that fraud based on fidelity is a proper basis for an annulment by fraud. Part III identifies fidelity as an express term in the marriage contract and argue that a fraud based on fidelity should go to the essence of the marriage. Part IV discusses how the Ramirez decision promotes the State’s interest in marriage. Part V shows that the Ramirez decision will not create a floodgate of fraud based on fidelity claims, nor will the decision create a burden on the courts. This Article concludes by recommending legislative action and judicial acceptance of fraud based on fidelity.

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