Marriage and Divorce conflict of laws – Full Faith and Credit & Comity: When we recite the pledge of allegiance we are reminded that we are one nation under god, but the United States is composed of fifty independent States with different laws that often conflict with each other.
A Michigan divorce is valid in every State under Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. This Constitutional provision is called the Full Faith and Credit Clause and provides that the States must recognize judicial decisions of the other States within the United States.
Under the U.S. Constitution, a legally performed marriage or divorce in one State will be upheld in every State, even if the divorce laws of one States are in conflict.
This conflict of laws becomes more complicated with foreign governments.
As a general rule, a foreign marriage that is legally performed and valid abroad is also legally valid in the United States unless the marriage is in conflict with State laws (Michigan marriage laws). For example, while some countries may allow someone to have multiple wives, the marriage would not be valid in Michigan which prohibits multiple wives.
A divorce obtained in another country will be recognized in Michigan under a fundamental principal called comity. There are (3) elements to comity. First, the basic rudiments of due process were followed; . Second, the parties were present in court; and Third, a hearing on the merits was held. See: Dart v. Dart, 224 Mich. App. 146 (1997)
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By: Daniel Findling
The Divorce Guy, Michigan Divorce Attorneys and Specialists