Draper v. Burke

450 Mass. 676, 881 N.E.2d 122 (2008)

 

RULE:

Where ex-spouses lived in different and distant states, federal preemption in an ex-wife's action to modify child support to require the ex-husband to pay college expenses was required in order to implement federal objectives because no one state had modified the original support order.

FACTS:

An Oregon court had ordered the ex-husband to pay child support but did not address college expenses. The ex-wife, a Massachusetts resident, sought to have him, an Idaho resident, ordered to contribute. The Massachusetts court held she could not satisfy Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209D, § 6-611(a)(1)(ii), which contained a limitation that only nonresidents could seek a foreign support order's modification. Further, she had no Idaho contacts, so an Idaho court had no personal jurisdiction over her. The trial court held that it was required to rely on federal preemption to implement federal objectives and denied the ex-husband's motion to dismiss.

ISSUE:

Did the trial court properly invoke federal jurisdiction and deny the ex-husband's motion to dismiss?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

Forcing the ex-wife to litigate in Idaho would unreasonably burden her. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1738B was intended to protect the children from the ex-husband's insistence on jurisdictional convenience. Preemption was required by an actual conflict between state and federal law and to implement federal objectives.

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