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Article

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Extraterritorial Divorce -- Williams v. North Carolina II, 54 Yale Law Journal 799 (1945)

Abstract

Williams v. North Carolina I simplified the law on interstate divorce by compelling the recognition of foreign divorces it the petitioner was domiciled in the state granting the divorce, and without reference to which of the spouses was at fault.· In doing so, it overruled the doctrine of the Haddock case, according to which the domiciliary state of the respondent, who was not personally before the divorce court, need not recognize the foreign divorce. It also did away with the special doctrine laid down in Atherton v. Atherton, which made the recognition of the foreign decree upon substituted service compulsory if it was rendered by the courts of the last matrimonial domicil, that is, of the state in which the parties last lived together as husband and wife.

Williams v. North Carolina I was tried on the assumption that North Carolina had the power under the Haddock doctrine to attack the Nevada decree because the Nevada court had no personal jurisdiction over the respondent. For that reason it did not challenge the finding of the Nevada court that the petitioners had acquired a domicil in Nevada. The Supreme Court of the United States did not find it necessary, therefore, to discuss the subject of domicil as a prerequisite for divorce jurisdiction. The existence of domicil in Nevada became the decisive issue upon review by certiorari, in Williams v North Carolina II, of the judgment of the Supreme Court of North Carolina which convicted the Nevada divorcees of bigamous cohabitation.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1945

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