Vanderbilt Law Review

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The recognition of divorce decrees has perhaps created more concern in the United States than any other legal issue. At least this is a matter that has frequently been the subject of public discussions and articles in national magazines in the last decade and a half. The "laymen" who have participated in these events probably have not realized the technical legal problems involved. However, they have at least by their discussions and writings demonstrated that migratory divorces and respect for them raise problems of national significance. Moreover, there is an abundance of legal articles by judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students dealing with the validity and extra-territorial respect to be accorded foreign decrees of divorce. Both favorable and unfavorable reactions to the present status of divorce law are to be found in these articles. But even with all of this wide-spread interest the Supreme Court of the United States has taken the most prominent role. Not only has much of the Court's time been devoted to extra-state credit for divorce decrees, but the burden of prescribing policies and criteria has been shouldered by this tribunal.

It is the purpose of this article to consider this problem which has been the subject of such widespread interest and concern. Attention will first be focused on some of the policies which appear to underlie the rules that have been developed to govern full faith and credit for decrees of divorce. Moreover, a review of the working rules which are now followed will be given, as well as the bases upon which full faith and credit is given or withheld. In the later portions of the article alternative approaches to certain problems will be discussed, as well as their feasibility. And lastly, mention will be made of the ways in which these possibilities could be put into effect.

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