Carzano v. Carzano, CAAP-17-0000622

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
PartiesRODEL TOLENTINO CARZANO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ESTELITA DELA CERNA CARZANO, Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberCAAP-17-0000622
Decision Date16 September 2022

RODEL TOLENTINO CARZANO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.

ESTELITA DELA CERNA CARZANO, Defendant-Appellee.

No. CAAP-17-0000622

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii

September 16, 2022


NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAIʻI REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

Appeal from the Family Court of the First Circuit (FC-D No. 16-1-6797)

Rhoda Yabes Alvarez, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Leonard, Presiding Judge, Nakasone and McCullen, JJ.

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Plaintiff-Appellant Rodel Tolentino Carzano (Rodel) appeals from the Family Court of the First Circuit's July 25, 2017 Order Re: Plaintiff's Request for Uncontested Divorce.[1]

In this case, Rodel filed a "Complaint for Divorce" form, which alleged that the parties "are lawfully married to each other" and requested decisions on custody of their three children, division of assets and debts, and spousal support. In an "Affidavit of Plaintiff (For Uncontested Divorce)," Rodel

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stated that "parties were not legally married" and that he "had to file the instant case for annulment of our marriage." In a supplemental affidavit, Rodel declared that he "did not marry Defendant, however, [he] subsequently learned that she made it appear on official document that [they] were married in the Philippines when in truth and in fact, [he] never married her [.] "

Following a hearing and further briefing by Rodel, the family court ruled that it "does not have jurisdiction to annul Plaintiff's and Defendant's marriage that allegedly arose in the Philippines and therefore denies Plaintiff's request to have this Court grant an annulment and/or absolute divorce." (Formatting altered.)

On appeal, Rodel challenges the family court's denial of his request for an annulment of his alleged marriage to Defendant-Appellee Estelita Dela Cerna Carzano (Estelita) based on lack of jurisdiction. Specifically, he contends that the family court erred by denying his request for annulment based on:

(1) "lack of jurisdiction to rule over annulments when the Court has exclusive and original jurisdiction expressly contained in Hawaii Revised Statutes [(HRS)] Section 580-1"
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(2) "lack of jurisdiction over [Estelita] who resides in Cebu City, Philippines despite the fact that [Estelita] was properly served with the Complaint and Summons but failed to respond and participate in the proceedings"; and
(3) "the allegation that the fraudulent, or simulated or fictitious marriage certificate was registered in the Philippines because the statute granting the Court original and exclusive jurisdiction does not distinguish whether the fraud was committed in or outside the State of [Hawai'i] for the court to assume jurisdiction."

Upon careful review of the record and the brief submitted,[2] and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised, we resolve this appeal as discussed below, and vacate and remand.

"The jurisdiction of the family court is reviewed de novo under the right/wrong standard." Hsieh v. Sun, 137 Hawai'i 90, 98, 365 P.3d 1019, 1027 (App. 2016) (citing Puckett v. Puckett, 94 Hawai'i 471, 477, 16 P.3d 876, 882 (App. 2000)).

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"[I]t is plain that...

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