Pierce v. Pierce

Martin and Star Pierce were married in Mississippi in 2000, and divorced in Washington state in 2007. Because the Washington court lacked personal jurisdiction over Star, it did not divide the parties' assets. Subsequently, Martin brought an action in Mississippi requesting sale of the parties' Biloxi home and determination of the parties' financial obligations incurred during the marriage. Star filed a counterclaim requesting equitable distribution of the marital assets, alimony, and attorney's fees. The chancellor equitably divided the parties' assets and awarded Star alimony and attorney's fees. Martin appealed the chancellor's judgment, and the Court of Appeals reversed the property division and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, Martin raised two jurisdictional challenges for the first time: (1) he argued that the Washington judgment was res judicata as to Star's claims for equitable distribution and alimony, therefore the chancery court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to divide the parties' assets.; (2) he also argued that because he never consented to the chancery court's jurisdiction, the chancery court lacked personal jurisdiction to divide his military retirement benefits under the Federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. Upon review, the Supreme Court found no reversible error. Accordingly the Court affirmed the chancery court's decision. View "Pierce v. Pierce" on Justia Law