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What was the legal significance of the Supreme Court case WILLIAMS et al. v. STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA?

The case established that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S.

Constitution does not require a state to recognize a divorce decree from another state if the parties were not properly domiciled in that state.

The Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina could look behind the Nevada divorces obtained by the defendants to determine if they were properly domiciled in Nevada at the time.

The decision gave states more authority to refuse to recognize divorces granted in other states, undermining the legal principle of migratory divorce.

It was a significant departure from the Court's earlier ruling in Sherrer v.

Sherrer, which had held that a state must recognize a divorce decree from another state.

The case highlighted the tension between state sovereignty and the need for national uniformity in matters of marriage and divorce.

The ruling gave states more power to refuse to recognize out-of-state divorce decrees, potentially trapping couples in unwanted marriages.

The decision was controversial, with three justices dissenting and arguing that it violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

The case had far-reaching implications for issues of personal status and the ability of individuals to change their marital status by moving to another state.

It remained an influential precedent for decades, until it was partially overruled by the Supreme Court's decision in Sosna v.

Iowa in 1975.

The case demonstrated the Court's reluctance to create a national law of domestic relations, leaving it largely to the states to regulate.

The ruling had significant practical consequences, as it made it more difficult for couples to obtain quickie divorces in Nevada and then return to their home states.

The case highlighted the ongoing debate over the balance between state and federal power in the regulation of family law.

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