Sunday, December 8, 2013

Draper v. Burke case brief

Draper v. Burke case brief summary
881 N.E.2d 122 (2008)

Plaintiff wife filed complaints to revise and alter a foreign child support order in the Bristol Division of the Probate and Family Court Department (Massachusetts). After consolidation, the trial court denied defendant husband's motion to dismiss. The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.

An Oregon court ordered the husband to pay child support but did not address college expenses. The wife, a Massachusetts resident, sought to have him, an Idaho resident, ordered to contribute to them.

  • The supreme judicial court held she could not satisfy Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209D, § 6-611(a)(1)(ii)'s limitation that only nonresidents could seek a foreign support order's modification. 
  • She had no Idaho contacts, so an Idaho court had no personal jurisdiction over her. 
  • Massachusetts had subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1738B(e) and (i) because Oregon had no jurisdiction, as no one lived there; no other state had modified the Oregon judgment; the parties did not consent to jurisdiction elsewhere; and Massachusetts had personal jurisdiction over the husband. 
  • There was no conflict with the Oregon court, since it lacked jurisdiction and its judgment was silent on college expenses. 
  • Making the wife litigate in Idaho would unreasonably burden her. 
  • 28 U.S.C.S. § 1738B was intended to protect the children from the husband's insistence on jurisdictional convenience. 
  • Preemption was required by an actual conflict between state and federal law and to implement federal objectives.
The trial court's judgment was affirmed.

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