Ware v. Ware

Ware v. Ware, 404 S.C. 1, 743 S.E.2d 817 (2013), is a Supreme Court opinion reversing the Court of Appeals decision in Ware v. Ware, 390 S.C. 493, 702 S.E.2d 390 (Ct. App. 2010).  It reverses a family court determination that an Alabama divorce decree did not have priority over a South Carolina divorce decree because Alabama did not have personal jurisdiction over the Wife.  Husband argued that Wife was bound by the Alabama court’s determination that it had jurisdiction over her because she had entered a limited appearance to challenge personal jurisdiction and under the application of the “full faith and credit” clause of the United States Constitution, as interpreted by Durfee v. Duke , 375 U.S. 106, 111, 84 S.Ct. 242, 245, 11 L.Ed.2d 186 (1963), she was bound by this determination.

The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed, finding that Wife’s limited appearance to challenge jurisdiction meant that she had fully and fairly litigated the issue of personal jurisdiction despite her subsequent withdrawal from the Alabama action prior to trial.  Thus she was bound by the Alabama court’s determination that it had personal jurisdiction over her and the Alabama order had priority over the South Carolina orders.  For further information, see: Well it seemed obvious to me