Marriage Was Valid in New York
Under New York law, the marriage was valid since it was recognized in Israel unless it was contrary to public policy or violated "positive law." Because Code Sec. 2056(a) focuses on the identity of the surviving spouse, the initial question was whether the decedent and the surviving spouse were validly married, and not whether the religious divorce was valid. Under Israeli law, the decedent was validly divorced and could remarry. Thus, for purposes of New York law, the marriage was not bigamous and not contrary to public policy. New York divorce law was not violated by the finding because that law was not broken by a New York resident marrying outside of the state and recognizing a non-New York marriage was not equivalent to ruling on the divorce‚Äôs validity. However, the ruling was narrowly focused on whether the New York Court of Appeals would recognize the Israeli marriage, which was not contested by the prior spouse and left undisturbed by the lower courts.


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