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COMITY

A code of etiquette that governs the interactions of courts in different states, localities and foreign countries. Courts generally agree to defer scheduling a trial if the same issues are being tried in a court in another jurisdiction. In addition, courts in this country agree to recognize and enforce the valid legal contracts and court orders of other countries.

Comity is the legal doctrine under which countries recognize and enforce each others' legal decrees. Comity usually arises in two situations in family law. The first is where a divorce is granted by another country. If both parties were present and consented to the divorce, there is usually no problem with the U.S. recognizing the foreign divorce decree. The second situation arises in child custody cases. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act requires that state courts recognize properly entered custody decrees of other nations; in turn, many other countries are beginning to recognize U.S. custody orders.

Courtesy; a disposition to accomodate.

Courts of justice in one state will, out of comity, enforce the laws of another state, when by such enforcement they will not violate their laws or inflict. an injury on some one of their own citizens; as, for example, the discharge of a debtor under the insolvent laws of one state, will be respected in another state, where there is a reciprocity in this respect.

It is a general rule that the municipal laws of a country do not extend beyond its limits, and cannot be enforced in another, except on the principle of comity. But when those laws clash and interfere with the rights of citizens, or the laws of the countries where the parties to the contract seek to enforce it, as one or the other must give way, those prevailing where the relief is sought must have the preference.

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