Simons v. Miami Beach First Nat'l Bank
381 U.S. 81 (1965)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Simons v. Miami Beach First Nat'l Bank, 381 U.S. 81 (1965)

Simons v. Miami Beach First National Bank

No. 363

Argued March 10, 1965

Decided May 3, 1965

381 U.S. 81

Syllabus

Petitioner and her husband, Simons, were legally separated in New York, where they were domiciled, and he was ordered by the separation decree to make monthly alimony payments. He ultimately moved to Florida, where, a year later he secured a divorce. Petitioner had valid constructive notice of the divorce action, but entered no appearance. Simons made the monthly payments under the New York decree up to his death about eight years after the divorce. Petitioner claimed dower under Florida law when respondent, executor, offered Simons' will for probate. Respondent opposed the claim on the ground that, because of the divorce, petitioner was not Simons' wife when he died. Petitioner then brought this action in a Florida court seeking a declaration that the divorce had not destroyed her dower claim. The trial court's dismissal of the action was affirmed on appeal, and the state supreme court declined review.

Held:

1. The denial of petitioner's dower by the Florida courts did not violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, since the New York decree, which was fully complied with by Simons, preserved no dower rights in his property. P. 381 U. S. 84.

2. Any dower rights petitioner may have had in Simons' estate under Florida law did not survive the divorce decree, since, under Florida law, dower rights in Florida property are inchoate, and are extinguished by a divorce decree predicated upon constructive service. P. 381 U. S. 85.

157 So.2d 199 affirmed.

Page 381 U. S. 82

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