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02/24/95 MARGARET A. HAEUSER v. KENNETH E. HAEUSER

February 24, 1995

MARGARET A. HAEUSER
v.
KENNETH E. HAEUSER



Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court. (DR-93-1774.01). J. Gary Pate, TRIAL JUDGE.

Rehearing Denied April 7, 1995. Certiorari Denied June 30, 1995.

Wright, Retired Appellate Judge. All the Judges concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wright

WRIGHT, Retired Appellate Judge

The parties were married for approximately 23 years. They have two adult children. In October 1992 they separated. At the time of separation, they were living in Jefferson County, Alabama. Subsequent to the separation, the wife moved to Wisconsin. The husband remained in Jefferson County.

The husband filed a complaint for divorce in Jefferson County on May 12, 1993. On June 4, 1993, the wife was served with a copy of the complaint by the sheriff of Washington County, Wisconsin. In the complaint the husband requested a divorce, averring that "all personal property has been divided between the parties and there is no real property belonging to either party."

The wife filed a complaint for divorce in Wisconsin on May 19, 1993. She requested that she be given a divorce, alimony, and an equitable division of the marital estate. The husband was served with a copy of the complaint on June 5, 1993.

Default judgment against the wife was entered in Jefferson County on July 6, 1993, with oral testimony thereon by the husband. A final judgment for divorce in favor of the husband was entered on July 6, 1993. On August 20, 1993, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738 (1994), the husband filed a copy of the Jefferson County final judgment in Wisconsin.

The husband apparently appeared specially in the Wisconsin case, challenging the jurisdiction of the court over his person and the subject matter of divorce. He moved for dismissal on those grounds on August 20, 1993.

On January 27, 1994, the wife filed a Rule 60(b), Ala. R. Civ. P., motion, seeking to set aside the Jefferson County judgment. The motion was denied on March 29, 1994. The wife filed a postjudgment motion, which was denied on May 18, 1994. There was no appeal.

In the interim, the Wisconsin court entered a final judgment of divorce in favor of the wife and against the husband. The final judgment was entered on March 1, 1994. The wife was awarded alimony, a division of real property, attorney fees, and other costs. On March 28, 1994, pursuant to § 6-9-238, Code 1975, the wife filed notice of the Wisconsin final judgment in Jefferson County.

The husband moved to strike the wife's notice of foreign judgment. On June 15, 1994, the Circuit Court of Jefferson County granted the husband's motion, finding that the Wisconsin judgment was not entitled to full faith and credit. The wife appeals.

We find the dispositive issue to be whether the trial court erred in refusing to grant the Wisconsin final judgment full faith and credit.

The Constitution of the United States, Article IV, Section 1, requires that "full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state." The judgment of another state that has subject matter and in personam jurisdiction is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of Alabama. Morse v. Morse, 394 So. 2d 950 (Ala. 1981). The law of the ...


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