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The Divorce Encyclopedia

Term Definition Reciprocity - the process of cooperation between states and countries to establish and enforce child support orders by recognizing and enforcing the laws and court orders of each jurisdiction.
Application in Divorce Reciprocity is a general term describing judicial and legal cooperation between states.

Reciprocity between the states derives from the Full Faith and Credit clause found in Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.

Full faith and credit require each state to honor the legal judgments of other states, including divorce. This idea has been enlarged in other areas, and now many states share what are termed reciprocal laws.

In family law, reciprocity often applies to the enforcement of support orders. The Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, a uniform law adopted in all jurisdictions, provides for the enforcement of support. A wife or mother living in one jurisdiction institutes support proceedings against a father or husband living in another. The court in the jurisdiction of the husband or father then issues process for his appearance and a support order is issued, and it is transmitted to the court in the initiating state.

As it applies to divorce, reciprocity means the states must recognize the divorces granted in sister states.

The term reciprocity is large enough to include cooperation among and between jurisdictions in a number of areas of law, for example, the rendition of fugitives. The term comity describes courtesy, the judicial doctrine that states respect the orders, decrees and judgment of other jurisdictions.

See Full Faith and Credit; Comity.

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