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Sosna v. Iowa

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 419 U.S. 393,95 S. Ct. 553,42 L. Ed. 2d 532,1975 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. Appellant moved from New York to Iowa and one month later brought suit for divorce in Iowa. Appellant’s husband challenged the jurisdiction of the Iowa court.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A durational residency requirement is constitutional in that appellant was not permanently foreclosed from obtaining a divorce and the State’s interests in the requirement are legitimate.


Facts. Appellant, Carol Sosna, married Michael Sosna in 1964 in Michigan. They lived together in New York from 1967 through 1971, after which they separated but continued to live in New York. In August 1972, appellant moved to Iowa, and the following month petitioned the Iowa district court for dissolution of her marriage. Michael Sosna made a special appearance to contest the jurisdiction of the Iowa court. The Iowa court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction, finding that Michael was not a resident of Iowa and appellant had not been a resident of the State for one year preceding the filing of her petition as required by an Iowa Statute.

Issue.
Is the Statute unconstitutional because it establishes two classes of persons and discriminates against those who have recently exercised their right to travel to Iowa?

Is the Statute unconstitutional because it denies a litigant the opportunity to make an individualized showing of bona fide residence and therefore denies such residents access to the only method of legally dissolving their marriage?

Content Type: Brief


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