Conflict of Laws – Full Faith and Credit – Foreign Custody Decrees

Husband and wife were domiciled in Wisconsin. When marital troubles developed, the parties agreed that the wife should. take their children to Ohio and. there decide on her future action. Shortly afterward the wife informed the husband. she was not returning. The husband secured. a divorce in Wisconsin, with the decree purporting to award. him custody of the children subject to visitation rights in the wife. Service on the wife was · obtained by publication, but she made no appearance in the Wisconsin proceedings. After one of the visits of the children, the wife refused. to return them and. the husband filed a petition for habeas corpus in Ohio, relying upon the Wisconsin decree. The Ohio intermediate appellate court affirmed the probate court’s order that the wife give up the children, holding that Wisconsin had jurisdiction to render a binding decree since it was the children’s domicile. The state supreme court dismissed an appeal. On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court held, reversed, three justices dissenting. Where a court lacks personal jurisdiction over a parent, its decree cutting off the parent’s immediate right to custody of minor children need not be accorded full faith and. credit. May v. Anderson, 345 U.S. 528, 73 S.Ct. 840 (1953).