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Two facts about modern society have created a huge problem for modern courts. First, approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Thus, there is a tremendous demand for fast, painless, and inexpensive dissolution of marriages. Second, Americans can travel quickly and relatively inexpensively to foreign countries by planes, trains, and automobiles.
Because of these two facts, Americans frequently travel to foreign countries in order to obtain quick divorces. Of course, when a spouse travels to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or some other country to obtain a divorce, that spouse will leave most of his or her property, children, and, quite frequently, the other spouse in the United States. Thus, regardless of its validity in the foreign country, if the divorce is not valid in the United States, the divorce will have little meaning.
This Manual discusses the issue of whether a foreign divorce judgment should be recognized by courts in the United States under the doctrine of comity among nations. The Manual first defines comity and discusses the factors which a court will consider when determining whether to accord recognition to a foreign judgment of divorce. In the next section, the Manual addresses the issue of whether a spouse should be prevented by principles of equity from claiming that a foreign country's divorce is invalid. Then, the Manual discusses some special problems that a party may face if that party seeks recognition of a foreign country's judgment of support, child custody, or equitable distribution.
National Legal Research Group, Inc.
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