GRETNA – A man is suing his ex-wife for allegedly filing for divorce in a foreign country and not properly serving him with the legal documents so that he could contest it.
Jairo Santanilla filed suit against Blanca Lilia Acosta in the 24th Judicial District Court on Aug. 20.
Santanilla claims that he and his ex-wife Acosta, the defendant, were married in Colombia in 1972 and that when she filed for divorce from him in 2001 she did so when she was living in Colombia and he was living in Louisiana. The plaintiff alleges that service of the divorce petition was attempted through the Colombian Consulate in New Orleans which was given the wrong address by the defendant, despite the plaintiff’s allegations that she knew his correct address. Santanilla asserts that in 2006 the court in Colombia granted Acosta the ability to serve him through publication and afterward received a judgment and was granted a divorce.
The plaintiff contends that the divorce was fraudulent as the defendant was well aware of his address and his place of employment, the University of New Orleans where he has been employed as a professor since 1985, and that she frequently visited the address to see her children and for family gatherings. Santanilla claims he was not aware of any partitioning of the family’s property due to the divorce until 2012 when he was served with a copy of a judgment.
The defendant is accused of bad faith, suppressing notice of divorce and partitioning of property, obtaining an unjust advantage and causing the plaintiff financial harm.
Unspecified damages are sought by the plaintiff.
Santanilla is represented by Arthur O. Scott of New Orleans-based Riguer Silva LLC.
The case has been assigned to Division L Judge Donald A. Rowan Jr.
Case no. 741-464.