California Court of Appeals, First District, Third Division
In re the Marriage of CAROLYN GOODWIN-MITCHELL and MICHAEL MITCHELL. CAROLYN GOODWIN-MITCHELL, Respondent,
MICHAEL MITCHELL, Appellant.
Superior Court Alameda County No. HF17862586 Honorable Lupe
C. Garcia Trial Judge
Kathleen L. Morgan for Appellant.
Mitchell appeals from a judgment annulling his marriage to
Carolyn Goodwin-Mitchell. Uncontradicted evidence shows that
Carolyn did not prove the requirements for annulment under
Family Code section 2210, subdivision (d),  so we reverse
2017, Carolyn filed a petition for nullity or, in the
alternative, dissolution of the parties’ marriage on
the basis of fraud. Both parties appeared in pro per and
testified at the one-day evidentiary hearing.
she met Michael, Carolyn helped obtain a green card for her
Jamaican first husband. That marriage ended in divorce.
is also from Jamaica. In January 2015, Carolyn met him online
and they began dating over the internet. Michael started
discussing marriage in February or March. Around the same
time, he told Carolyn he wanted to move to the United States
so that he could live with her, start a restaurant business,
and join the U.S. army. In June 2015, Carolyn went to Jamaica
and met Michael for the first time. The couple married during
returned home and applied for a two-year conditional visa for
Michael. The visa was approved in September 2016. In November
2016, Michael flew to the United States and moved in with
a week of Michael’s arrival, he “was soliciting
call girls, prostitution, and other women off of
sites.” In February 2017, he was jailed for a day and a
half and a restraining order was issued after an incident of
domestic violence between the parties. While he was in
jail, Carolyn discovered text messages to his mother in
Jamaica on his phone. Michael wrote, “Me na lef, me na
lef til me get my rass papers” and “Cody n u affi
fuck reach.” Carolyn interpreted these to mean Michael
was “not leaving [Carolyn’s] house until he gets
his papers, and “his brother and his mom has to reach
the United States.” Carolyn also found extensive text
messages between Michael and DeAndra. From the nature of the
messages, Carolyn believed DeAndra to be Michael’s
girlfriend. Michael repeatedly told DeAndra he loved her. He
wrote, “Wife call police how I hit her[.] [¶] Pure
fuckery” and that he was “[j]ust waiting for army
to come through[.]” Referring to Carolyn, he wrote,
“By right she should treat me better but immigration
will look at it n I can get divorce quicker [¶]...
[¶] I have rights to here as she signed for it[.]
[¶]... [¶] If I left immigration gonna be after
me... [¶] Just waiting papers then I can move[.]”
DeAndra urged Michael to leave Carolyn. He responded,
“Am here soon move out. Just waiting on my papers ok[.]
[¶]... [¶] If I [move] I’ll av to marry some
restraining order was lifted not long after Michael was
released from jail. Michael moved back in with Carolyn.
According to Carolyn, this was because Michael had nowhere to
go and she believed she was legally responsible for him until
he obtained permanent resident status. The couple continued
their sexual relationship, but they “did not act as a
couple to other people.”
March 2017, Michael had sex with another woman in
Carolyn’s home. In June Carolyn filed divorce papers.
Nonetheless, the couple continued to live together and
maintained their sexual relationship until November, when
Michael’s temper worsened, and Carolyn asked him to
move out. Michael complied.