Mr. Justice Field observed in 1877, "The authority [to render in personam judgments] of every tribunal is necessarily restricted by the territorial limits of the State in which it is established." A steady erosion of state lines as the demarcation for state court in personam jurisdiction began thereafter (especially following the International Shoe Co. v. Washington decision). Today the extent of this erosion in the various states is considerable. Stucky v. Stucky is one example of the extent to which state boundaries have yielded to the pressure to expand the state courts' personal jurisdiction. In that case the Nebraska Supreme Court held interalia that, under the given fact situation, a nonresident defendant in a divorce action can be made amenable to a personal judgment for alimony, child support, and attorney's cost. This holding is unique in that Nebraska has no specific statute providing for this result, and few other states have arrived at this judicial conclusion without a specific statute allowing such a procedure. This article analyzes the Nebraska decision by discussing three relevant areas: (1) the facts leading to the result in the instant case, (2) the bases for divorce jurisdiction (both in rem and in personam) that have been accepted in Nebraska and elsewhere, and (3) the court's opinion on the Stucky fact pattern relating to the facts and the traditional bases for divorce jurisdiction. The article in conclusion evinces a method of reaching the same result for the case with a more restricted holding; predicts some possible ramifications of Stucky; and finally, suggests some legislation that would crystallize the new law in this area.
Douglas L. Curry,
Personal Jurisdiction in Divorce Proceedings: Stucky v. Stucky, 186 Neb. 636 (1971),
51 Neb. L. Rev. 159
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol51/iss1/7