Posted: April 22nd, 2022

Case Brief Ezra Kulko and Sharon Kulko Horn

Case Brief
Facts: Ezra Kulko and Sharon Kulko Horn were New York residents who had married in California. They later got divorced in New York, and both children remained with their Ezra in New York during the school years and lived with their mother in California during summer holidays. After a while, their daughter told Ezra that she wanted to move and live with her mother in California; he thus bought a one-way ticket to California and let his daughter go (Weisberg, 2014). A few years later, the couple’s son also expressed his desire to live in California, and Horn bought him a plane ticket and he moved. Later, Horn sued Ezra in California and sought sole custody of their children and increase in child support. Ezra challenged California’s jurisdiction on him.
Procedural History: The state court ruled in favour of the mother, and stated that California had jurisdiction over the father. Ezra appealed this ruling, and the Appellate Court affirmed the ruling of the state court. The court asserted that by allowing his children to go live in California, Ezra had allowed California to exercise jurisdiction over him. Ezra appealed again. The US Supreme Court reversed this ruling.
Issue: Did the state of California obtain jurisdiction over the father?
Holding/Rule: No. The court established that the state courts in California did not have the power under the constitution to exercise personal jurisdiction over Ezra as a non-resident, nondomiciliary parent of children who lived within California because he did not have adequate minimum contacts with California.
Reasoning: By simply permitting his children to live with their mother in contradiction to their separation agreement, Ezra did not decisively avail himself to the advantages and protections of California laws. Particularly, since the nature of the action was domestic, Ezra did not get any monetary or commercial benefit from his children living in California. For this reason, Ezra’s actions were not such that it was just, fair or logical to require him to carry out his defense to the child support adjustment in California.

Weisberg, D. K. (2014). Emanuel Law Outlines for Family Law. Alphen aan den Rijn,
Netherlands: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.


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