A MARRIAGE between a woman and her former father-in-law has been validated by the Cour de Cassation senior appeal court despite it being expressly forbidden by the Code Civil.
The couple, Denise and Raymond, have been married for more than 22 years after the woman and the son, Claude, divorced in 1980 when he had been convicted twice of domestic violence.
Denise and Raymond, a professor of medicine, had become close after the marriage broke up and were married in 1983 in the Hautes-Alpes.
After Raymond died in 2005 Claude challenged the validity of the marriage because of its effect on his inheritance rights. The Code Civil bans direct in-laws from marrying - and the couple said they had not known this, and neither had the official who married them.
A court in Grasse initially said the marriage should be annulled – and this was backed by the lower appeal court before being challenged in the Cour de Cassation.
Denise’s lawyer argued that the right of a man and woman to marry was fundamental under the European charter of Human Rights, and cited a similar case in the UK.
The senior appeal court agreed, saying that the marriage had lasted more than 20 years without trouble and should be validated. However, it said that its decision should not set a precedent and was limited to this one instance.
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