A husband and wife were residents of Wyoming. In a divorce proceeding in that state, having both parties before it and having jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit, the Wyoming court granted a decree of divorce to the wife. The decree ordered the husband to deliver to the wife a quit claim deed to property in Nebraska. The husband did not comply with this order. Instead, he left Wyoming and went to the situs of the land in Nebraska and brought a suit there to have the Wyoming decree declared void and to quiet his interest in the property. The wife cross-petitioned asking that the Wyoming decree be enforced, or in the alternative, to quiet title in the wife to the husband's interest in the property.
The Nebraska Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court with orders to render a judgment either enforcing the order of the Wyoming Court, or in the alternative, quieting title in the wife to the husband’s interest in the property. The problem presented in this case is the effect, in Nebraska, of a decree of a sister state ordering a conveyance of Nebraska real estate.
The maxim that a court of one state cannot directly affect or determine title to real property located in another state is not as final as it sounds. Under the guise of “indirectly affecting” real property, courts of one state may affect real property in another by rendering an in personam order to convey title to that land. Once this order becomes final, it is then backed by the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution.
Park L. Shipley,
Jurisdiction—Indirectly Affecting Land in Another State by Judgment in Personam,
39 Neb. L. Rev. 420
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol39/iss2/12