FORD V. FORD, 371 U. S. 187 (1962)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ford v. Ford, 371 U.S. 187 (1962)

Ford v. Ford

No. 63

Argued November 15, 1962

Decided December 10, 1962

371 U.S. 187


After being informed that a husband and his estranged wife had reached an agreement concerning the custody of their children, a Virginia court dismissed a petition for habeas corpus which had been filed by the husband in order to obtain their custody. Subsequently, while the children were with their mother in South Carolina, she sued in a court of that State to have full custody awarded to her, and that was done in a proceeding in which the husband appeared and contended that it was a violation of the agreement reached in Virginia which was the basis of the Virginia court's order of dismissal. The Supreme Court of South Carolina reversed, on the ground that the judgment of the Virginia court was res judicata and binding on the South Carolina courts under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Federal Constitution, in the absence of a change of circumstances warranting a change of the custody of the children.

Held: Even if the Full Faith and Credit Clause is applicable to cases involving custody of children, the courts of South Carolina were not bound by the Virginia order of dismissal here, since that order was not res judicata in Virginia. Pp. 371 U. S. 187-194.

239 S.C. 305, 123 S.E.2d 33, reversed.

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