Full Faith and Credit Clause in the Constitution

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Where Is the Full Faith and Credit Clause Found in the Constitution?

The Full Faith and Credit Clause can be found in the U.S. Constitution in Article IV, Section 1. It was included by the original framers of the Constitution to help promote the unification of the country. The clause accomplishes this by making sure that a decision by one state court will not be ignored in the ruling of another state court.

Also, the Full Faith and Credit clause helps to prevent what is known as "forum shopping". This is when on party seeks venue in a different state or in several different locations simply to escape judgment from a previous ruling.

What Does the Full Faith and Credit Claus Cover?

Basically, it ensures that any judicial decision that is given in one state is recognized in every other U.S. state. That is, any time a judgment is rendered by a court, that judgment is to be honored to the same extent as it was in the state where it was issued.

Thus, when a party relocates to one state, they can petition the court in the new state to enforce a judgment from a previous state. When this happens, the issues are not litigated anew; instead, the second court must recognize the decision that is carrying over from the previous state.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause covers most civil decisions, legislation, and public records of the various states. That is, the public records of each state, not just court decisions, must be honored by other states as well.

In recent years, the clause has been interpreted as applying to various family law determinations as well, such as protection orders, divorce rulings and child custody rulings.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with the Full Faith and Credit Clause?

Constitutional laws such as the Full Faith and Credit Clause are often major pieces of law that affect a large number of legal and social issues. They can often be quite complex and difficult to understand. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you have any constitutional issues that need resolving. In particular, if you’re dealing with multiple jurisdictions, the Full Faith and Credit Clause might apply to you. Your attorney can help represent you and can explain how such laws will affect your claim.

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Last Modified: 12-02-2013 03:42 PM PST

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