University of Missouri Bulletin Law Series

Article Title

Jurisdiction to Divorce


James L. Parks

Document Type



It is generally conceded by American authority that a divorce granted by a court, when neither party to the marriage is domiciled within its jurisdiction, is invalid, and this is the rule even though the defendant submits himself to the court's action. This proposition is said necessarily to result "from the right of every nation or state to determine the status of its own domiciled citizens or subjects, without interference by [other] tribunals in a matter in which they have no concern." So long as the parties have a common domicile, the matter of jurisdiction to divorce is one of no difficulty, but often parties are not living together, and either the husband or the wife attempts to get a divorce at his or her place of settlement without securing personal jurisdiction of the defendant. Courts have been granting divorces in such instances, upon constructive service of the defendant, in actions that are practically ex parte. Are such decrees valid? Are they based upon due process so that they must be accredited in a sister state under the federal Constitution?

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Family Law Commons



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