March 16, 2020

Kulko v. Superior Court | Case Brief - 436 U.S. 84, 98 S.Ct. 1690 (1978) - US Supreme Court

FACTS: Ezra Kulko married Sharon Kulko Horn during a 3-day layover in CA en route to Korea from his military base in TX. At the time of marriage both were residents of NY. She returned to NY immediately after the marriage as did he after his tour of duty. They had 2 children and resided in NY until 1972. Sharon moved to CA and the signed a separation agreement in NY that provided the kids would stay with the father during the school year and visit the mother during vacations. Sharon procured a divorce in Haiti and then returned to CA and was married. Ilsa told her father that she wanted to move to CA and this occurred in December 1973. In Jan. 1976 the son Darwin called his mom saying he wanted to move to CA and Sharon sent him a ticket w/out telling Ezra. One month after Darwin arrived Sharon commenced that action trying to establish the Haitian divorce as a CA divorce and modify to award her full custody and increase child-support obligations. 

HISTORY: CA Supreme Court sustained assertion of jurisdiction over Kulko. 

ISSUE: May the CA state courts "exercise in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident, non domiciliary parent of minor children domiciled within the state?" (225) 

HOLDING: No 

RATIONALE: The CA courts did not rely on the temporary visits of the appellant to the state (both on military layovers to and from Korea). They also did not look at the fact that they were married in CA. Ruling against the appellant would discourage parents from entering into reasonable visitation agreements. "Purposeful activity" does not count as the father in the interests of family harmony sending his daughter to CA. The change in amount the father paid in support b/c one kid was in CA resulted from the child being absent from the home and not because of a presence in CA. Because CA participates in the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support ACt of 1968 the plaintiff had a means of procuring additional child-support from the defendant without forcing either party to leave their state of residence. 

DISPOSITION: Reversed.