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Tatsing v. Njume-Tatsing

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

November 7, 2017

Serge Tatsing, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Sally E. Njume-Tatsing, Defendant-Appellee.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations (C.P.C. No. 15DR-2557)

         On brief:

          Alex J Pomerants, for appellant.

          Grossman Law Offices, John H. Cousins, IV, and Jodi R. Smilack, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Alex J. Pomerants.

          John H. Cousins, IV

          DECISION

          BROWN, J.

         {¶ 1} Serge Tatsing, plaintiff-appellant, appeals from the judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, in which the court entered a judgment granting the motion to reconsider filed by Sally E. Njume-Tatsing, defendant-appellee.

         {¶ 2} Appellant was born in Nyesoso, Cameroon. Appellee was born in Ngaoundere, Cameroon. On January 1, 20o2, the parties ostensibly married in a ceremony in Kumba, Cameroon. At the time of the alleged marriage, appellant resided in Cincinnati, Ohio, and appellee resided on the Ivory Coast. After the marriage, the parties resided in the United States. Three children were born as issue of the marriage.

          {¶ 3} In 2013, appellant filed for legal separation from appellee, and appellee filed a counterclaim for divorce. The case was subsequently dismissed while the parties sought to reconcile.

         {¶ 4} On July 9, 2015, appellant filed the present divorce action. Appellee filed an answer and counterclaim for divorce but did not challenge the validity of the parties' marriage.

         {¶ 5} In November 2015, appellee commenced proceedings in Cameroon to nullify the marriage. Appellant received no notice of the proceedings in Cameroon and was not served, and appellee did not inform the trial court in the present case of the proceedings in Cameroon. On December 23, 2015, the Cameroon High Court ("High Court") granted appellee's request to nullify the marriage. The High Court found that the parties' marriage certificate had no legal effect due to their failure to abide by Cameroon law that required a marriage be celebrated by a civil status registrar of the place of birth or residence of one of the spouses. Because neither party was born in or resided in Kumba, Cameroon, at the time of the ceremony, the marriage was invalid.

         {¶ 6} On January 13, 2016, appellee filed a motion to dismiss in the present case based on the invalidity of the Cameroon marriage. The trial court denied appellee's motion to dismiss. On July 18, 2016, appellee filed a motion to reconsider claiming the trial court failed to address subject-matter jurisdiction. Appellee argues she was not asking for the trial court to apply the rules of comity or ...


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