In the 1960s, some New Yorkers traveled to Mexico to obtain a "Mexican divorce". A divorce in Mexico was easier, quicker, and less expensive than a divorce in most U.S. states. Celebrities who obtained a Mexican divorce include Johnny Carson, Katharine Hepburn, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Don Hewitt, Charlie Chaplin and Tom T. Chamales. It is also mentioned in the Jack Kerouac book On the Road. It was often referred to as a quickie (or quicky) Mexican divorce.
Mexico does not require spouses to be present at a divorce hearing: they can send a lawyer to represent them. This "fast-track" process is in contrast to American divorce procedures, which involve additional bureaucracy and added expense.
In 1970, in accordance with a Mexican federal law recommendation, many courts stopped accepting divorce petitions from non-residents. Accordingly, petitioners must be selective in their choice of court. With the advent of no-fault divorce in the United States, Mexican divorces are not as popular as they once were.
Mexican divorce is also referenced in the song "What Do You Want from Life?" by The Tubes, the Tom Waits song "The Part You Throw Away", and in the Burt Bacharach composition, "Mexican Divorce", sung by The Drifters. A reference to a Mexican quickie divorce is also made on The Andy Griffith Show, season 4 - episode 10 "Up in Barney's Room". Mexican divorces were also plot twists in several episodes of the legal drama Perry Mason.