In the former case it was held, in the latter case denied, that a divorce granted a husband without personal service upon the wife, who at the time was residing in another state, was entitled to recognition under the full faith and credit clause and the acts of Congress; the difference between the cases consisted solely in the fact that in the Atherton case the husband had driven the wife from their joint home by his conduct, while in the Haddock case he had deserted her. The court that granted the divorce in Atherton v.
Atherton was held to have had jurisdiction of the marriage status, with the result that the proceeding was one in rem and hence required only service by publication upon the respondent. The upshot was a situation in which a man and a woman, when both were in Connecticut, were divorced; when both were in New York, were married; and when the one was in Connecticut and the other in New York, the former was divorced and the latter married.
In Atherton v. The practical difficulties and distresses likely to result from such anomalies were pointed out by critics of the decision at the time. Moreover, until the second of the Williams v. North Carolina cases 51 was decided in , there had not been manifested the slightest disposition to challenge judicially the power of the states to determine what shall constitute domicile for divorce purposes.
A few years before, the Court in Davis v. Davis 52 rejected contentions adverse to the validity of a Virginia decree of which enforcement was sought in the District of Columbia. In this case, a husband, after having obtained in the District a decree of separation subject to payment of alimony, established years later a residence in Virginia and sued there for a divorce.
Personally served in the District, where she continued to reside, the wife filed a plea denying that her husband was a resident of Virginia and averred that he was guilty of a fraud on the court in seeking to establish a residence for purposes of jurisdiction. The finding of the Virginia court on domicile and jurisdiction was declared to bind the wife.
Davis v. Davis is distinguishable from the Williams v. North Carolina decisions in that in the former determination of the jurisdictional prerequisite of domicile was made in a contested proceeding whereas in the Williams cases it was not. In Williams I and Williams II, the husband of one marriage and the wife of another left North Carolina, obtained six-week divorce decrees in Nevada, married there, and resumed their residence in North Carolina where both previously had been married and domiciled.
Prosecuted for bigamy, the defendants relied upon their Nevada decrees and won the preliminary round of this litigation, that is, in Williams I, 53 when a majority of the Justices, overruling Haddock v.
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Haddock , declaring that in this case, the Court must assume that the petitioners for divorce had a bona fide domicile in Nevada and not that their Nevada domicile was a sham. There is no constitutional barrier if the form and nature of substituted service meet the requirements of due process. In view of its assumptions, which it justified on the basis of an inadequate record, the Court did not here pass upon the question whether North Carolina had the power to refuse full faith and credit to a Nevada decree because it was based on residence rather than domicile or because, contrary to the findings of the Nevada court, North Carolina found that no bona fide domicile had been acquired in Nevada.
Bigamy (canon law)
While a state can no doubt set up its own standards of domicile as to its internal concerns, I do not think it can require us to accept and in the name of the Constitution impose them on other states. Notwithstanding that one of the deserted spouses had died since the initial trial and that another had remarried, North Carolina, without calling into question the status of the latter marriage, began a new prosecution for bigamy; when the defendants appealed the conviction resulting therefrom, the Supreme Court, in Williams II, 56 sustained the adjudication of guilt as not denying full faith and credit to the Nevada divorce decree.
Reiterating the doctrine that jurisdiction to grant divorce is founded on domicile, 57 the Court held that a decree of divorce rendered in one state may be collaterally impeached in another by proof that the court that rendered the decree lacked jurisdiction the parties not having been domiciled therein , even though the record of proceedings in that court purports to show jurisdiction.
Fears registered by the dis- senters in the second Williams case that it might undermine the stability of all divorces and that the court of each forum state, by its own independent determination of domicile, might refuse recognition of foreign decrees, were temporarily set at rest by Sherrer v. Sherrer , 59 which required Massachusetts, a state of domiciliary origin, to accord full faith and credit to a day Florida decree that the husband had contested.
Because the findings of the requisite jurisdictional facts, unlike those in the second Williams case, were made in proceedings in which the defendant appeared and participated, the requirements of full faith and credit were held to bar him from collaterally attacking such findings in a suit instituted by him in his home state of Massachusetts, particularly in the absence of proof that the divorce decree was subject to such collateral attack in a Florida court.
In Coe v.
Coe , 60 embracing a similar set of facts, the Court applied like reasoning to reach a similar result. Massachusetts again was compelled to recognize the validity of a six-week Nevada decree obtained by a husband who had left Massachusetts after a court of that state had refused him a divorce and had granted his wife separate support. After finding that it had jurisdiction of the plaintiff, defendant, and the subject matter involved, the Nevada court granted the wife a divorce, which was valid, final, and not subject to collateral attack under Nevada law.
The husband married again, and on his return to Massachusetts, his ex-wife petitioned the Massachusetts court to adjudge him in contempt for failing to make payments for her separate support under the earlier Massachusetts decree. Appearing to review Williams II, and significant for the social consequences produced by the result it decreed, is Rice v.
After having placed upon the first wife the burden of proving that the decedent had not acquired a bona fide domicile in Nevada, and after giving proper weight to the claims of power by the Nevada court, the Connecticut court concluded that the evidence sustained the contentions of the first wife, and in so doing, it was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Sherrer v. Sherrer and Coe v.
Coe , previously discussed, were declared not to be in point, because no personal service had been made upon the first wife, nor had she in any way participated in the Nevada proceedings. The most common method family law litigants seek to nullify their marriage is based on fraud, which means that one person lied to induce another person to marry them. Here are some types of cases where fraud might work to nullify a marriage:. What if a spouse lied about whether they were previously married and divorced?
Bigamy Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.
The courts have held that is not sufficient for an annulment. Another way in which the court can nullify a marriage is when a person is forced to marry another person. This is called duress. This does not mean a party felt pressure to marry. It means that the person was actually threatened with harm if they did not marry. However, in practice, it is a good idea to have the family court issue a judgment voiding the marriage so there is no question about validity.
For most nullity actions, children born of the parents whose marriage was annulled will still be treated like his or her parents divorced. In some cases, the child is simply treated as though he or she was born to parents out of wedlock.
Part of Utah's bigamy law struck down in victory for U.S. TV star
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I have read the Form Disclaimer. What are the marriages that are automatically void? What are the marriages that are voidable? The grounds in which a person may petition the court to request the court void the marriage include the following: Where a party lacks mental capacity to enter into a valid marital relationship; Where the marriage is induced by fraud where the fraud goes to the essence of the marriage contract; Where one or both spouses are underage; and Where a spouse was impotent at the time of marriage.
Do I qualify for an Annulment in Massachusetts? The United States Supreme Court has stressed the significance of marriage in the following words: Marriage is a coming together for better or worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.
Griswold v. Connecticut, U.