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“Married” for 20 Years—Husband Had Secretly Obtained Divorce to Protect Property

A New York woman made a stunning discovery in November, 2015, when a tax bill arrived at the home she and her husband had shared for most of their 20 year marriage. The lawyer she hired to investigate the apparent mistake discovered that the woman’s husband had filed and obtained a divorce from her, just four months after their wedding, in an apparent attempt to protect his assets. Nonetheless, he lived with her for the next 20 years, raised a child with her, made her his health-care proxy and granted her power of attorney.

Christina Carta Villi, a professor of Italian literature when she met her future husband Gabriel Villi in 1994, an attorney and travel agent. The couple “bought” a condo on West 55th and raised a son. What Carta Villi did not know, though, was that just four months after their wedding, Gabriel filed for a divorce in the Dominican Republic, telling the court that his marriage to Christina was “unbearable.” Though the couple did not live in the Dominican Republic, Gabriel Villi hired lawyers for himself and his wife there, and represented to the Dominican court that he and his wife had “an incompatibility of temperaments.” The divorce was never registered in New York.

When Carta Villi’s attorney looked into the omission of her name on the tax bill, she discovered that Gabriel Villi had used the Domican divorce decree to have her name removed from the deed. Carta Villi says Gabriel was motivated by greed, and she’s seeking to have the divorce nullified, arguing that she never authorized or consented to it, and that neither party ever appeared in the Dominican Republic proceeding.

Contact an Experienced New York Divorce and Family Law Attorney

At the law office of Chris Palermo, Esq., we bring more than 13 years of experience to men and women in divorce and family law matters, representing clients across Long Island. To learn more about our practice, see our divorce and family law page. For an appointment, send us an e-mail or call us toll free at 1-800-483-1527. We have offices located in Huntington, Hauppauge, Garden City, Babylon and New York City.