Family Law Update: California judgment, dissolving marriage and distributing marital assets, was entitled to full faith and credit in New York

A California court’s divorce judgments, dissolving the parties’ marriage and distributing the marital assets, were entitled to full faith and credit by the New York courts.   Under full faith and credit doctrine, out-of-state judgments give res judicata effect to those issues conclusively decided, thereby avoiding relitigation of those previously decided issues in any other State.   Thus, the wife’s subsequent New York divorce action was barred by res judicata.  The New York Supreme Court held that the California courts had requisite jurisdiction to dissolve the marriage, where, regardless of the wife’s domicile, the husband had was a resident of California.  Furthermore, the California court had clearly asserted its jurisdiction over the wife in renewing the divorce action, despite initially withdrawing its jurisdiction over the action.

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