Legal issues with persons living abroad that are required to pay alimony in Mexico

by | Jul 28, 2014

This article describes the issue and legal procedure in case that a person that is required to pay alimony in Mexico moves abroad.

This topic will focus on the issues that Mexican families may face as a result of having members with dual or even multiple nationalities, such as United States or Spanish nationality, or from changing tax residency.

The closeness of Mexico to the United States, as well as the Spanish origin of many Mexicans, makes it each day more often to see Mexican families having members with double or even more nationalities. This has some advantages but also a downside especially when we are talking about taxes and estate planning.

It is a common practice for Mexican families to move to the United States to give birth to their children so these can have United States citizenship, regardless of the fact that they live all their lives in Mexico and are also Mexican nationals.

In the case of Spain, the nationality policy of Spain allows the decedents of Spanish emigrants to Mexico to obtain Spanish citizenship even if the person requesting this nationality has never been to Spain and regardless of the fact that his/her Spanish relative died many years ago.

Legal Issues

Dual nationality may also lead to other types of legal issues related to family matters, which commonly arise upon dissolution of marriage (divorce) as well as the end of cohabitation and typically involve children resulting from such unions: alimony and child support.

Under Mexican law, children, spouses and partners are entitled to claim an allowance for maintenance granted by a judge if certain legal requisites are fulfilled.

The enforcement of domestic alimony rulings does not represent a challenge in Mexican jurisdiction.

However what happens when a foreign court issues such a judgment and this has to be executed against a person with dual nationality living abroad or when a Mexican judge issues the judgment and the person required to pay alimony moves to a different country using the benefit of dual nationality?

Generally speaking, judgments issued outside Mexico are enforceable by exequatur (by means of a relatively short legal proceeding before a Mexican court in which the foreign judgment is reviewed only to the extent that it is not against Mexican law and that minimum procedural guaranties of the parties were satisfied).

Mexican judgments may be executed abroad under international reciprocity principles.

Additionally, Mexico is a member of international treaties adopted within the United Nations and the Organization of American States frameworks regarding alimony and child support, whereby relevant matters related to the jurisdiction and enforcement of rulings and judgments are broadly regulated. Naturally, every specific case has to be assessed by a legal advisor and no action should be taken without fully understanding of the legal consequences.

Finally, the ITL does not tax any income resulting from alimony or child support.