Comity in divorce, alimony and custody proceedings across state boundaries

What is Comity?

Comity is a courtesy one jurisdiction gives by enforcing laws of another jurisdiction. Comity is granted out of respect, difference or friendship rather than as an obligation. In American constitutional law comity has arisen in two ways. This directly important, although less common in the modern era was a failure of comity in interstate relations. In the modern context, it is usually an issue that involves the Federal courts willingness to rule on a state law in the absence of decision by state court on the same issue.

In the antebellum period the status of slaves brought to free states race particular troublesome comity questions. Before 1830 courts and Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi Missouri gave comity to free state and emancipated slaves who had lived or surgeon and in a non-slaveholding jurisdiction. In the case of Commonwealth against days of 1836 supreme judicial Court of Massachusetts free Louisiana sleigh brought Massachusetts by a visitor. In reaching this decision the court rejected arguments the Massachusetts ought to give comity to the slaves laws of Louisiana. On the eve of the civil war some northern border states to allow Masters to travel through the jurisdictions with slaves as a matter of comity, similarly some southern states continue to recognise the free status gained by slave who had lived in the North.

But, the trend was clearly against comity. In the case of Street against Graham 1851 and dread Scott this is centred of 1857, the Supreme Court held that sleigh states under no obligation to grant comity to free slaves laws but the court was ambiguous about whether northern states Robert added to grant comity to southern laws regulating slavery. Symbolic of this denial of comity was a case of mutual against Wells in 1859. In a case, Mississippi’s highest court refused to acknowledge freedom of slave whose owner had taken her to Ohio, where he legally married. In lemon against the people of 1860, New York’s highest court upheld the free status of slaves brought to New York City by traveller who is merely changing ships are a direct boat to Louisiana.

How does comity apply in divorce, alimony and custody?

Differences and state divorce laws have also led to denials interstate comity. Despite claims that a divorce proceeding was act or judicial proceeding that all other states Robert added to enforce under the Constitution for faith and credit provisions in article 4, various states have refused to recognise divorce is granted under law is more lenient than their own. In most cases of law, however, interstate comity has worked smoothly. Thus states usually allow visitors to drive cars and drivers licenses from other states, usually recognise marriages and adoptions in other states and often grant professional licenses to migrants or visitors has a matter of reciprocity and comity.

The concept of comity is also led to the modern doctrine of abstention which stems from the notion of the state of Federal courts are equally obligated to enforce United States Constitution. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted in Brocket against super Carney Arkady is of 1985 the court has long recognised the concerns comity and federalism may require Federal courts to abstain from deciding Federal constitutional issues are entwined with interpretation of state law where uncertain questions a state law must be resolved before a Federal constitutional question can be decided, Federal court should abstain from reaching decision on Federal issues until estate court has address a state questions.

Similarly, on grounds of comity and percent Federal law, the Supreme Court is generally refused to allow Federal courts to intervene in pending cases in state courts absent showing of bad faith harassment. As a noted in younger against Harris of 1971, comity is a proper respect of the state functions, recognition of the fact that the entire country is made up of the union a separate state governments and a continuance of the belief that the National government will fare best the states and institutions leadfree to perform a separate functions in their separate ways. This, perhaps, the lack of a better and clearer way to describe it is referred to by many as our federalism and one familiar with the profound debates that ushered Federal Constitution into existence is bound to respect of those who remain loyal to the ideals in dreams of our federalism.

 

 

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