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Volume20
Year2012
TitleThe Domestic Relations Exception to Diversity Jurisdiction: Spousal Support Enforcement in the Federal Courts
Author(s)Travis Grant
First Page51
AbstractThis article discusses the scope of diversity jurisdiction when it comes to alimony awards and why we seldom find these disputes reported on the dockets of the federal courts. The author notes that the answer lies somewhere in an exception to federal diversity jurisdiction first recognized a century and a half ago in Barber v. Barber and followed by federal courts ever since. Called the ?domestic relations exception,? it deprives federal courts of diversity jurisdiction over an indefinite range of noncriminal disputes related to marriage and divorce including child custody, child support, and alimony. The Supreme Court last essayed the exception in Ankenbrandt v. Richards, which involved a dispute all Justices considered quite irrelevant to the exception?s contours.