Marriage of V.S. & V.K.Annotate this Case
V.S. and V.K., both born in India, met in 2009 in Illinois, where they both lived. In 2010, during a trip to India, they participated in the Phera Hindu marriage ceremony. In 2013, the couple had a civil marriage ceremony in Illinois. In 2019, V.S. petitioned for the dissolution of the marriage, identifying the date of marriage as December 2010. Although V.K. in his response, likewise indicated the date of marriage as December 2010. He later argued that the date of marriage was the date of the Chicago civil ceremony.
The court of appeal affirmed that the 2010 Phera was not legally binding under the Hindu Marriage Act and that the parties were not married until their U.S. civil ceremony. An out-of-state marriage is “valid” in California if it “would be valid by laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted” (Family Code 308). The court upheld a determination that the Phera was not legally binding on V.K., who was not domiciled in India and did not voluntarily submit to be bound by the Act. The court properly did not treat V.K.’s initial admission that the parties were married in 2010 as a judicial admission of fact; the date of the parties’ marriage is a predominantly legal conclusion not susceptible of judicial admission as a disputed fact. Substantial evidence supports the determination that V.S. was not entitled to treatment as a putative spouse after the Phera.