Friday, January 12, 2018

Milestone: Lee v. Melanson, 2007-Ohio-1784 (Ohio Ct. App. 2007)


The appellant filed for a divorce and child support in the state court of Ohio in 2005, claiming she had married the appellee in South Korea in 2001. The appellee moved for a summary judgment, arguing because there was no marriage in South Korea, there can be no divorce. The lower court granted the summary judgment.

The appellate court affirmed. Finding that Ohio law determines the validity of a marriage based on lex loci contractus, the appellate court analyzed Korean Civil Code art. 812 and found no valid marriage existed between the parties.


No matter how many times I read choice-of-law cases, I will never get over the fact that a state court in Ohio is making a decision by opining whether the parties properly followed a foreign statute. This is even truer when we are talking about a contract for marriage. Here, we have a U.S. citizen infant born to a U.S. citizen father--and we are going to determine the child's welfare based on Ohio court's interpretation of Korean law?

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