Philadelphia Skyline

Adams v. Dinkins

(Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 10/20/83)

Petitioner, suing for divorce from husband who was defending that action on the ground that he had never legally married petitioner, sought order directing respondent David Dinkins (then City Clerk of the City of New York) to issue certificate of marriage so that divorce could proceed. Respondent argued that no order of mandamus could be issued since petitioner had been married without marriage license and by clergyman not registered with City Clerk's office; in addition, petitioner had not documented a previous divorce. Court ruled that lack of license and clergy registration were not necessarily a bar to issuance of marriage certificate, and that with inclusion of certified copies of previous divorce, petition could be renewed. Dinkins filed a notice of appeal and then decided to withdraw it. The case settled with the City issuing a marriage certificate, which then allowed the petitioner to seek a divorce with the property rights of a spouse in Boston, Massachusetts.  Link to Full Text of Decision

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