Reset A A Font size: Print

District Court of Appeal, Third District, California.

HEUER v. HEUER et al.*

Civ. 7373; Sac. 5828.

Decided: January 10, 1948

John Sinai, of Reno, Nev., and Fontaine Johnson and Thomas Perkins, both of Sacramento, for appellants. Gumpert & Mazzera, by J. Calvert Snyder, all of Stockton, for respondent.

Plaintiff Georgia Heuer brought this action in San Joaquin County against defendant Henry Heuer and two of his brothers, alleging that she and Henry Heuer were husband and wife, that they were the owners of certain described real and personal community property, which said property her husband, during their marriage, had conveyed to one or the other of his said brothers, without consideration and without her consent and for the purpose of defeating and defrauding her of her rights therein; and she prayed judgment that such conveyances be set aside.

Defendants answered said complaint, denied that Henry Heuer and plaintiff were husband and wife, admitted that they had been such but alleged that on October 25, 1945, defendant had secured a decree of divorce from plaintiff in Nevada. They admitted that the property described in the complaint was community property, and that Henry Heuer had executed the conveyances as alleged in the complaint; but asserted that said conveyances were intended to convey only Henry Heuer's helf interest in such community property, and that such conveyances were made for full and adequate consideration.

After trial of the issues raised by the pleadings, the trial court made findings in conformity with the allegations of the complaint, found that plaintiff and defendant Henry Heuer were husband and wife, that the property in controversy was community property, that the conveyances executed by defendant Henry Heuer (with one exception not involved on this appeal) were made without any valuable consideration, and that they were made for the sole purpose of defrauding and defeating plaintiff of her interest therein. Judgment was entered ordering that all of the conveyances executed by Henry Heuer (with the exception above noted) be vacated, that the real and personal property described therein be declared to be the community property of plaintiff and defendant Henry Heuer, and that the title thereto be quieted against any claims of Clarence Heuer and/or James Heuer, the grantees in the aforesaid conveyances.

On this appeal the questions raised by appellants are said to be: (1) Can a husband acting without his wife's consent convey his interest in real property which is held by himself and his wife as joint tenants? (2) Can a contested Nevada divorce decree which recites that evidence was heard on both sides and that from such evidence the court finds that there was a bona fide residence in Nevada be rendered void by a collateral attack which fails to produce any proof of lack of a bona fide residence? (3) Is community property transformed into a common tenancy when the husband and wife are divorced?

The first of these questions need be given no consideration since it was admitted in defendants' answer and was stipulated during the trial that all of the property involved was community property; and the trial court so found. Defendants' counsel during the trial made no claim that the property was held in joint tenancy, his contention being, as stated by him, that ‘the husband can convey a half interest in the community property at any time regardless of what the status of the marriage is.’ Appellants may not be permitted to change their theory on appeal. Ernst v. Searle, 218 Cal. 233, 240, 241, 22 P.2d 715; Hayward Lumber & Investment Co. v. Ford, 64 Cal.App.2d 346, 354, 148 P.2d 689.

As for appellants' second contention, that the divorce secured by Henry Heuer in Nevada was valid, it is urged first that such a decree rendered in a sister state is presumed to be valid, that the issue of jurisdiction of the Nevada court was contested by the parties in that state, and that respondent is precluded by her conduct from attacking the Nevada decree.

That in a collateral attack upon a foreign divorce decree the burden of proof is upon one asserting its invalidity has been frequently stated by our courts. See Crouch v. Crouch, 28 Cal.2d 243, 249, 250, 169 P.2d 897; De Young v. De Young, 27 Cal.2d 521, 524, 165 P.2d 457. However, it is equally well established, as stated in Crouch v. Crouch, supra, 28 Cal.2d at page 549, 169 P.2d at page 900, that a decree of divorce rendered in one state may be impeached and denied recognition in another upon the ground that neither of the parties had domicil at the divorce forum; and that this is true notwithstanding the recital in the decree from the other state of the jurisdictional fact of domicil or residence. And, as stated in another way in the Crouch case (28 Cal.2d at page 250, 169 P.2d at page 900), it is always competent to impeach collaterally a decree of divorce rendered in another state by extrinsic evidence showing that the court pronouncing it did not have jurisdiction because the petitioning party had not established a bona fide domicil.

That the determination of whether defendant Henry Heuer was or was not a bona fide resident of Nevada at the time of the rendition of the decree in that state was a question of fact for the determination of the trial court in the case before us is conceded. Under well established rules of law, if there is competent evidence in a record sufficient to sustain the findings of a trial court on questions of fact this court cannot reverse its judgment. Stromerson v. Averill, 22 Cal.2d 808, 815, 141 P.2d 732; 10 Cal.Jur. 1167, 1168, sec. 380; 2 Cal.Jur. 918, sec. 542.

We think there is sufficient evidence to justify the findings in this case. It shows that plaintiff and defendant Henry Heuer were married in California in October, 1911, and lived together in this state until March, 1944. On September 18, 1944, Heuer filed a complaint for divorce in San Joaquin County, alleging extreme cruelty. Plaintiff herein filed an answer and cross-complaint in the action. On January 25, 1945, the parties entered into an agreement that they would go back together and live on one of their parcels of real property in San Joaquin County. The divorce proceeding was thereupon dismissed. Mrs. Heuer testified that she immediately took steps to put their proposed residence into livable condition, and that defendant gave her some little assistance. They did not, however, resume marital relations, and on or about June 11, 1945, Henry Heuer took the trailer in which he had been living, and went to Reno, Nevada, where one of his brothers resided. He secured employment there with a construction company, lived in his trailer at an auto court, paying by the week, and took his meals with his brother Clarence. On July 24, 1945, he filed his action for a divorce, and, as his wife had come to Reno to see about her husband's health, summons was there served upon her. She personally appeared in the action when it came on for hearing on October 25, 1945, but as the pleadings in that action are not in the record before us, nor is a transcript of the proceedings, the extent of her contentions before that court is not apparent; but she did not testify there. However, it appears to be conceded by her counsel that she did consent to the entry of a decree in favor of her husband, which decree was made and entered on October 25, 1945.

Approximately one month after the entry of that decree Henry Heuer left Nevada, and has ever since resided in California, living in the trailer which, in November, 1945, he had transferred to his brother James. During the course of the original divorce litigation in California and up to the time that the present action was filed, said defendant made various transfers of the community property to his brothers. The first was made on or about January 8, 1945, and the next was made in May, 1945, less than a month before he went to Nevada. On July 19, 1945, he made another transfer, and, as above stated, conveyed his trailer house in November; and on February 9, 1946, he transferred the remaining item of real property. In this action he testified in his own behalf and sought to show that the property transfers were made for a valuable consideration. He also testified that he intended to make his home in Nevada after he went there, and still intends to do so; that he returned to California in November, 1945, on the advice of a doctor who stated that the Nevada climate was too severe for his health; that he could not do his kind of work there during the winter weather. However, the trial court was not bound to accept the statements of this defendant as true, and we are of the opinion that it was justified in disregarding them. His testimony was in many respects evasive. And his general course of conduct, as well as his testimony, fully justifies the inference that he went to Nevada solely for the purpose of getting a divorce, and that he did not establish a bona fide residence there. While in the reconciliation agreement which he entered into with plaintiff on January 25, 1945, he agreed to resume the relationship of husband and wife with plaintiff and agreed that he would use his best efforts to support and maintain a home for her, and be a dutiful and considerate husband, he took no steps to that end. Though it is stated in appellants' brief that the agreement was that the parties should live on the property described as Parcel One, and the testimony shows that plaintiff herself moved there and prepared it for their occupancy, Heuer continued to live in his trailer. Also he had, in fact, already conveyed Parcel One to his brother Clarence, on January 8, 1945. He admitted that after going to Nevada he was back in California several times on business, that when he went to Reno he left some of his tools in California, that while in Nevada his trailer was registered in this state, that he retained his union affiliation here, that he did not change his social security address, and did not register as a voter in Nevada; that he did not work all the time while there; that one of the reasons he went there was to get a divorce; and that his present home is wherever he can get a job.

In Williams v. State of North Carolina, 325 U.S. 226, 65 S.Ct. 1092, 1098, 89 L.Ed. 1577, 157 A.L.R. 1366, the court said that the record showed that petitioners, longtime residents of North Carolina, came to Nevada where they stayed in an auto court for transients, filed suits for divorce as soon as the Nevada law permitted married one another as soon as the divorces were obtained, and promptly returned to North Carolina to live. It then added: ‘It cannot reasonably be claimed that one set of inferences rather than another regarding the acquisition by petitioners of new domicils in Nevada could not be drawn from the circumstances attending their Nevada divorces. It would be highly unreasonable to assert that a jury could not reasonably find that the evidence demonstrated that petitioners went to Nevada solely for the purpose of obtaining a divorce and intended all along to return to North Carolina.’

It would, we think, be equally unreasonable to assert that in the instant case the trial court could not reasonably find that Heuer went to Nevada solely for the purpose of divorce, and intended all along to return to California.

While other testimony of this witness is relied upon by appellants, it merely creates a conflict and need not be considered here.

As for appellants' contention that respondent is precluded by her conduct from attacking the Nevada decree because she appeared in the action there, the record before us does not show that she there tendered the issue as to the bona fides of her husband's residence in that state. And in Crouch v. Crouch, supra, the court said, 28 Cal.2d at page 250, 169 P.2d at page 901, that a decree of a foreign state, based upon personal or constructive service or ‘even a personal appearance,’ may be attacked upon the ground that the party seeking the divorce had not established a bona fide residence. Numerous authorities are there cited including In re Estate of Davis, 38 Cal.App.2d 579, 101 P.2d 761, 102 P.2d 545 (hearing in Supreme Court denied), in which it is said 38 Cal.App.2d at page 582, 101 P.2d 762: ‘No act of the parties in the nature of waiver, stipulation, appearance, consent or estoppel can confer upon a foreign court a jurisdiction which it does not possess when the subject matter of the controversy is beyond its limitations. Kegley v. Kegley, 16 Cal.App.2d 216, page 220, 60 P.2d 482; In Estate of Bruneman, 32 Cal.App.2d 606, 608, 90 P.2d 323; In re Estate of McNutt, 36 Cal.App.2d 542, 98 P.2d 253.’ Also see Andrews v. Andrews, 188 U.S. 14, 40, 41, 23 S.Ct. 237, 47 L.Ed. 366, 373.

Finally, appellants urge that the effect of the Nevada decree, which did not purport to dispose of the community property, was to transform the interest of the spouses therein into a tenancy in common, thus rendering valid as to his one-half interest any transfers made by Henry Heuer after the divorce decree was rendered; and that such property should have been adjudged to belong to plaintiff and the respective grantees as tenants in common. Also that all other community property which was such prior to the Nevada decree should now belong to plaintiff and Henry Heuer as tenants in common. Just what property should be included in the latter classification is not pointed out by appellants. They describe the various real properties as Parcels One, Two, Three and Four. Only Parcel Four was conveyed by Henry Heuer after the Nevada decree, the other three parcels having been conveyed as follows: Parcels One and Two on January 8th and Parcel Three on July 19th, all in 1945.

As for the personal property appellants describe it as Items One, Two, Three, Four and Five. A conveyance of Item Three, furniture and furnishings on Parcel Two, a motel, was made to defendant Clarence Heuer on May 11, 1945, and of Item Four, the trailer and a Dodge coupe, to James Heuer in November, 1945. Presumably, as Items One, Two and Five were not conveyed, it is those items which appellants say should be declared to be held by plaintiff and Henry Heuer as tenants in common.

Regarding the property conveyed, as it was community the conveyances were ineffective, for it is well established in this state that a husband has no right, prior to death, to give away any of the community property without the wife's consent; and when this is attempted to be done, the wife has a right to have such a conveyance set aside in its entirety and the property restored to the community. See Britton v. Hammell, 4 Cal.2d 690, 52 P.2d 221; Ballinger v. Ballinger, 9 Cal.2d 330, 334, 70 P.2d 629; Lynn v. Herman, 72 Cal.App.2d 614, 618, 165 P.2d 54; Matthews v. Hamburger, 36 Cal.App.2d 182, 184, 97 P.2d 465.

Appellants argue that the issue of the bona fides of plaintiff's residence in Nevada was contested in the Nevada divorce proceeding. They state in their brief that the Nevada court set forth in its findings ‘the facts that it had heard evidence on both sides and that, from such evidence, it determined that Henry Heuer was a bona fide resident of Nevada.’

However, an examination of the said findings shows that they were not made or filed prior to or at the time that the divorce decree was rendered in October, 1945, but that they are dated April 22, 1946, and recite that they were ‘Done in open court this 22nd day of April, 1946’ (which was after the institution of the action before us). And what they recite about Heuer's residence is that ‘the said plaintiff, Henry Heuer, is now and has been for more than six weeks last past, continuously preceding the filing of the complaint herein, a bona fide resident of and domiciled within the County of Washoe, State of Nevada, and has been physically and corporeally present in said County and State each and every day for said period of time.’ Just why the said findings were made at such a late date is not explained; but obviously Heuer was not, on April 22, 1946, a resident of Nevada, nor had he been such for six weeks then last past. Apparently they were secured to be filed by the judge of the Nevada court in April, 1946, solely for use in the case before us, as the copy introduced in evidence by appellants was certified by the clerk on April 23, 1946. The decree which was rendered on October 25, 1945, recites that it appeared to the court that plaintiff then was, and had been for more than six weeks immediately preceding the filing of the complaint, a resident of and domiciled in Reno, but there is nothing in said judgment to indicate that the issue of the bona fides of his residence had been controverted by defendant in the action; nor does said decree indicate that any testimony whatever was introduced by Mrs. Heuer or on her behalf.

However, as held by the cases above cited, consent of respondent could not have conferred jurisdiction upon the Nevada court where neither of the parties had established a bona fide residence there, and as the trial court has found, in effect, that appellant Henry Heuer did not have a bona fide residence in Nevada. the judgment appealed from is affirmed.

Although I concur in the opinion of Presiding Justice ADAMS, I cannot do so without voicing my disagreement with the rule as stated by our Supreme Court in Crouch v. Crouch, 28 Cal.2d 243, 169 P.2d 897, and the United States Supreme Court in Williams v. State of North Carolina, 325 U.S. 226, 65 S.Ct. 1092, 89 L.Ed. 1577, 157 A.L.R. 1366, which compel like conclusions by this court.

For a member of an intermediate appellate court of this state to discuss at length the principles enunciated by the respective Supreme Courts in those two cases with the avowed purpose in so doing to show the conclusions therein approved to be improper and thereby reach a contrary conclusion in this case, is to liken oneself to the man who could not be put in jail.

However impotent I may be under the circumstances the conviction remains that the reasons for the minority view as stated by Justice Schauer in his dissenting opinion in the Crouch case (Justice Carter concurring) which in general followed the dissenting opinions of Justice Rutledge and Black (Justice Douglas concurring) in the Williams case, impress me as a much more sound approach to the problem presented—the full faith and credit clause as applied to a judgment of divorce of a sister state admittedly valid therein.

I dissent.

I am convinced the trial court erred in setting aside the instrument of conveyance of the properties, in toto, and in quieting title thereto in both the husband and the wife. The judgment should be modified in that regard and sustained only to the extent of Mrs. Heuer's undivided one-half interest therein. Pretzer v. Pretzer, 215 Cal. 659, 12 P.2d 429; Trimble v. Trimble, 219 Cal. 340, 344, 26 P.2d 477. It was stipulated that the properties were acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Heuer during their previous marriage. He admitted in his answer that he had no intention of conveying to his brothers more than his one-half interest in the properties. If he conveyed the properties to defraud his wife, as the court found that he did, equity should leave him in the situation in which he placed himself, and not reward him for his fraud by cancelling the instruments entirely and quieting title in him, as well as in his wife. He claims no interest in the properties. He did not ask the court to quiet title in him to any portion of the property. A modification of the judgment, as suggested, would protect the plaintiff, Mrs. Heuer, in her title to all interest which she claims in the properties conveyed.

The trial court erroneously determined that Mr. and Mrs. Heuer ‘are now husband and wife.’ The majority opinion assumes that was a sufficient finding upon which to base a conclusion that the former Nevada divorce is void for lack of jurisdiction and for lack of proof of plaintiff's residence in that forum. I think not. The Nevada decree is entitled to full faith and credit. Mrs. Heuer, the plaintiff in this case, is estopped from collaterally denying the validity of that divorce decree, since she went to Nevada where she was personally served with process; she appeared in person and by counsel, answered the complaint and participated in the trial; she stipulated, in that trial, that ‘all the issues raised by the pleadings are adjudicated by the granting of a decree to plaintiff;’ she was awarded by the terms of that decree, and profited by the allowance of $2,500 for her support and maintenance, and she acquiesced in that decree by profiting thereby and by failing to appeal therefrom.

The complaint in this case was silent regarding that former Nevada divorce, but Mr. Heuer, one of the defendants, in his answer alleged its existence and relies upon its conclusiveness. The findings and decree in the Nevada divorce case were received in evidence in this case without objection. The Nevada court specifically found that Mrs. Heuer appeared with counsel, answered the complaint and participated in the trial. That court determined that ‘evidence having been introduced on behalf of both parties' the ‘plaintiff, Henry Heuer, is now and has been for more than six weeks last past, * * * a bona fide resident of and domiciled within the County of Washoe, State of Nevada,’ and that the defendant was guilty of extreme cruelty as alleged in the complaint. Upon those findings plaintiff was awarded a divorce on the ground of extreme cruelty, and defendant was awarded alimony in said sum of $2,500. Under such circumstances, as between the former spouses, that decree is final and conclusive as to their marital status and is entitled to full faith and credit under the provisions of Article IV of the Constitution of the United States. I do not favor bootleg divorces, but I am concerned in preserving inviolate the constitutional guaranty of full faith and credit for all judgments of other states without discrimination. The majority opinion in this case appears to disregard that important principle by denying its application, and that of estoppel, to the circumstances of this case. The authorities appear to be uniform to the effect that Mrs. Heuer is estopped from collaterally attacking the Nevada decree for lack of jurisdiction, for insufficiency of proof of plaintiff's residence, or otherwise, since she was personally served in Nevada with process and appeared and participated in the Nevada trial, because she had the opportunity of proving that plaintiff had not acquired a residence in that forum, and for the reason that she consented to and profited by the decree containing an award in her favor of $2,500 alimony. Frost v. Frost, 260 App.Div. 694, 23 N.Y.S.2d 754; Bruguiere v. Bruguiere, 172 Cal. 199, 203, 155 P. 988, Ann.Cas.1917E, 122; 17 Am.Jur. 574, secs. 759–761; 27 C.J.S., Divorce, § 337.

In the authority last cited it is said, at section 337:

‘A person may be estopped to attack, impeach, or deny the validity of, a foreign divorce decree, as where he or she obtained the decree, participated in the fraud or wrong by which the decree was obtained, voluntarily appeared in the foreign action, did some act which in itself recognized the validity of the decree, accepted the benefits of the decree, or treated it as valid, or took advantage thereof, by remarrying.’

California and other authorities have adopted the rule that, as between the parties to a foreign divorce, the spouse who procured the divorce and recognized its validity by remarrying another person, is estopped from thereafter denying the validity of the decree. Kelsey v. Miller, 203 Cal. 61, 86, 263 P. 200; Petry v. Petry, 47 Cal.App.2d 594, 118 P.2d 498; Estate of Davis, 38 Cal.App.2d 579, 582, 101 P.2d 761, 102 P.2d 545; 153 A.L.R. 946, note; 39 A.L.R. 695, note.

In the Frost case, supra, upon facts which were similar to those of the present action, except that the question of benefiting by an award of alimony and maintenance, in the decree of divorce, was not involved therein, the New York court held that since the defendant appeared by counsel and answered in a previous Nevada suit for divorce, a decree in favor of the wife dissolving the marriage was immune from collateral attack by him in a subsequent suit in New York on the ground that the wife had not acquired a residence in the State of Nevada. The wife brought suit for divorce in Nevada, alleging a bona fide residence of six weeks in that state. The husband appeared by an attorney and answered in that suit for divorce. The Nevada court found that the allegations of the complaint were true, and rendered a decree of divorce in favor of plaintiff, dissolving the marriage. Subsequently the husband brought suit in New York to set aside that decree of divorce on the ground that ‘neither of the parties was a resident of the state of Nevada.’ [260 App.Div. 694, 23 N.Y.S.2d 756] That is exactly what occurred in the present case. The New York court said in that regard:

‘We think the Nevada decree cannot be subjected to collateral attack in this State and that it constitutes a conclusive adjudication of a then existing marriage. The Nevada court had jurisdiction of the subject-matter in the sense that it had power to grant or withhold a decree of divorce. Kinnier v. Kinnier, 45 N.Y. 535, 539, 6 Am.Rep. 132. It had jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff in that action (the defendant here) in consequence of the complaint which she had filed. It had jurisdiction over the defendant in that action (the plaintiff here) by his voluntary submission to its jurisdiction by an attorney authorized to appear for him. Tatum v. Maloney, 226 App.Div. 62, 234 N.Y.S. 614. One of the issues which it was necessary to determine in that action was the wife's residence within the State, and that issue the Nevada court decided in her favor. The question of her residence could have been litigated by the husband had he desired to litigate it then. That he did not do. Not having done so, the determination is as conclusive upon him as the determination of any other issue of fact. Hunt v. Hunt, 72 N.Y. 217, 28 Am.Rep. 129; Pray v. Hegeman, 98 N.Y. 351. He may not now assert that the issue of residence was not correctly determined on account of an imposition practiced by the defendant on the Nevada court or on account of collusion of the parties. Glaser v. Glaser, 276 N.Y. 296, 12 N.E.2d 305; Tiedemann v. Tiedemann, 225 N.Y. 709, 122 N.E. 892. The fraud of which he complains was fraud perpetrated on the Nevada court in respect to the very issue which was submitted for determination. Against fraud of that character courts of other States do not accord relief, even if it be assumed that relief is available at all. [Citing authorities.]’ (Italics added.)

In the present case the Nevada divorce decree is less vulnerable to attack for lack of residence of the plaintiff, for the reasons that Mrs. Heuer not only answered in the divorce case, but personally appeared and participated in the trial, and consented to the rendering of the decree, and also obtained and enjoyed the benefits of an award therein of alimony, maintenance and counsel fees.

The marital status of the former spouses in this case was a vital issue, for upon that status the character of the owner's title to the property and the husband's authority to convey his half interest therein depended. The Nevada divorce decree did not purport to distribute to the spouses any of their community properties, with the exception of the allowance of alimony. It was stipulated the spouses owned community property. When a valid decree of divorce is rendered, which does not dispose of the community property, the divorce dissolves the community interests and the former husband and wife thereafter became tenants in common of such property. Brown v. Brown, 170 Cal. 1, 3, 147 P. 1168; Lang v. Lang, 182 Cal. 765, 770, 190 P. 181; Biggi v. Biggi, 98 Cal. 35, 38, 32 P. 803, 35 Am.St.Rep. 141; Buller v. Buller, 62 Cal.App.2d 687, 693, 145 P.2d 649; Tabler v. Peverill, 4 Cal.App. 671, 676, 88 P. 994; 1 Schouler on Marriage and Divorce, 6th Ed., 643, sec. 614.

Except when a party is estopped by his conduct or appearance in an action in another state, a judgment of that forum may be impeached by evidence of a lack of jurisdiction, collusion or fraud. C.C.P., sec. 1916. But the presumption is in favor of the validity of the judgments of sister states. C.C.P., sec. 1963, subd. 16. The burden is on one who asserts a lack of jurisdiction or residence in another forum to establish those facts by ‘clear and convincing proof.’ In re Estate of Wiechers, 199 Cal. 523, 527, 250 P. 397, 398; Collins v. Maude, 144 Cal. 289, 293, 77 P. 945. In addition to plaintiff's estoppel in this case to deny the validity of the Nevada divorce on account of the husband's alleged lack of residence, or otherwise, her evidence in that regard is neither clear nor satisfactory. Moreover, if the trial judge intended to determine that the Nevada decree was void for lack of jurisdiction, insufficiency of evidence of the husband's residence in Nevada, or otherwise, this defendant, Henry Heuer, certainly was entitled to specific findings on those vital issues. The trial court failed to adopt those findings in this case. All that it determined was that plaintiff and defendant ‘are now husband and wife.’ The Nevada court, upon evidence adduced ‘on behalf of both parties' specifically found that Henry Heuer was a bona fide resident of Nevada. To hold the contrary in this suit would seem to refute the very purpose for which Article IV of the Federal Constitution was adopted. We are without knowledge as to what evidence was adduced at the Nevada trial. The burden was on Mrs. Heuer to furnish this court with the evidence adduced at that trial, which she failed to do. The result is that this court in effect prefers to accept the judgment of our California court on that issue rather than that of the foreign court, regardless of convincing or even conclusive evidence which may have been received by the Nevada court. The full faith and credit clause was adopted to prevent that very conflict of judicial authority.

Domestic relations are the source of many perplexing problems. The differences in application of apparent conflicting principles in this case demonstrate the need of a uniform national divorce law. For many years we have had a national bankruptcy act. Why not adopt a national divorce act to apply to bankrupt marriages? Public welfare seems to demand it.

The judgment in this case should be modified to hold the conveyances void as to plaintiff's one-half interest in the properties, and to quiet title in her to such interests only. The Nevada divorce decree should be upheld as valid, particularly on the ground that plaintiff is estopped from denying its validity.

ADAMS, Presiding Justice.

Copied to clipboard