Information on divorce law and practice, including separation agreements, custody, property dispositions, consent requirements, related issues from women's perspectives and in relation to spousal or child abuse, and legal requirements for taking children abroad by one parent [MEX27356.E]

For information on the requirements for taking children outside Mexico by one parent, please consult Response to Information Request MEX24736.E of 28 August 1996, and for information on the passport issuing requirements for children, please refer to MEX25130.E of 23 September 1996. For information related to spousal abuse and domestic violence, please refer to Responses to Information Requests MEX25619.E of 29 November 1996 and MEX13200 of 23 February 1993 and their attachments.

Additional references to spousal or domestic abuse can be found in the attached section of Human Rights in Developing Countries Yearbook 1996, and in Country Reports 1996, which is available at your Regional Documentation Centre. Also attached please find two San Antonio Express-News reports; one of them refers to a divorce case involving a couple that had residences in both the United States and Mexico (7 Apr. 1996), while the other refers to cases of spousal and domestic abuse (6 July 1996).

Other articles attached to this response contain references to domestic violence and divorce, and are included for your reference.

Regarding divorce law and practice in Mexico, representatives at the Embassy of Mexico in Ottawa explained during 18 and 21 August 1997 telephone interviews that although there is some federal legislation pertaining to divorce, each state of Mexico has different legislation.

A legal information Internet web site of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) indicates that legislation pertaining to divorce in different states of Mexico ranges from state constitutions to codes, laws and decrees, and that a single ground for divorce can be the subject of legal theses (19 Aug. 1997).

By way of example, a representative at the consular office at the Embassy of Mexico in Ottawa provided a copy in Spanish of legislation related to divorce from the Civil Code of the Federal District of Mexico (21 Aug. 1997) (copy of the document is not attached but available from the DIRB upon specific request). It can be noted that the code's tenth chapter, dedicated to the question of divorce, has 26 articles, one of which lists 18 different behaviours or conditions that constitute legal grounds for divorce, and others that refer to other articles of the code or legislation that might be pertinent to a case (ibid.). The consular office representative indicated that divorce legislation in other states of Mexico have varying degrees of similarity, but may also have significant differences (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Embassy of Mexico, Ottawa. 21 August 1997. Telephone interview with consular office representative.

_____. 21 August 1997. Fax received by DIRB.

_____. 18 August 1997. Telephone interview with representative.

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City. InfoJus WWW. [Internet]


Austin American-Statesman. 3 September 1995. Nancy Nusser. "Violence Against Women is Rising in Mexico." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 28 Aug.-10 Sept. 1995, Vol. 3, No. 16, p. 6)

Houston Chronicle. 21 July 1993. Andres Oppenheimer. "Women Find Voice in Macho Mexico." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 2-15 Aug. 1993, Vol. 1, No. 14, pp. 10-11)

Human Rights in Developing Countries Yearbook 1996. 1996. Edited by Peter Baehr et al. Oslo: Nordic Human Rights Publications, pp. 355-56.

Inter Press Service (IPS). 14 January 1996. Eduardo Molina y Vedia. "Alcohol Is Factor in the Breakup of Many Couples." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 15-28 Jan. 1996, Vol. 3, No. 26, pp. 8-9)

_____. 24 October 1993. Ruben Torres Jimenez. "Women, Victims of Violence at Home." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 25 Oct.-7 Nov. 1993, Vol. 1, No. 20, p. 10)

La Jornada [Mexico City]. 27 October 1996. Ricardo Olayo. "New Proposal Would Consider Domestic Violence as Criminal Conduct." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 21 Oct.-3 Nov. 1996, Vol. 4, No. 19, p. 9)

_____. 7 February 1993. "Many Sexual Abuses Within the Family Reported." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 1-14 Feb. 1993, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 6)

Los Angeles Times. 29 June 1993. Juanita Darling. "Activism Rooted in Mexico's Culture." (Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.] 5-18 July 1993, Vol. 1, No. 12, pp. 11-12)

San Antonio Express-News. 6 July 1996. Lesley Salas. "Aid to Battered Women Draws Attention South of the Border." (Global NewsBank)

_____. 7 April 1996. Maria F. Durand. "Woman's Plight Shows Failing in Mexico, U.S. Law." (Global NewsBank).