Law School Case Brief
Thomson v. Kyle - 39 Fla. 582, 23 So. 12 (1897)
So far as real estate or immovable property is concerned, the court must look to the laws of the state where it is situated for the rules which govern its descent, alienation and transfer, and for the construction, validity and effect of conveyances thereof, and it is to the same law that the court must look for the rules governing the capacity of the parties to such contracts or conveyances, and their rights under the same.
Della K. Thomson, a married woman, executed a mortgage conveying her separate statutory real estate located in Florida, as security for her husband’s debt. The mortgage was executed in the State of Alabama. The mortgagee filed an action against Thomson, seeking the foreclosure of the real estate mortgage. As a defense, Thomson alleged that under the laws of Alabama, the real estate mortgage she executed for her husband’s debt was null and void, and incapable of enforcement. Thus, since the note and the mortgage were void as to her in the State of Alabama, they were likewise void in the State of Florida.
Were the note and mortgage void in the State of Florida, for being void under the laws of the State of Alabama?
The Supreme Court of Florida held that so far as real estate or immovable property was concerned, the laws of the State where the property was situated furnish the rules which govern its descent, alienation and transfer, the construction, validity and effect of conveyances thereof, and the capacity of the parties to such contracts or conveyances, as well as their rights under the same. According to the Court, although by the laws of the State of a married woman's domicile, here Alabama, Thomson has no capacity to execute a mortgage upon her separate estate as security for the debt of her husband. However, if she in that State executes a mortgage of that character upon real estate in another State, whose laws permit a married woman to mortgage her real property to secure such a debt, the mortgage will in the later State be held valid and enforceable by appropriate proceedings. Therefore, it was held that the mortgage executed by Thomson in Alabama was a valid and enforceable one upon her property located in Florida.
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