What Happens When Laws Conflict?

One of the most overlooked complexities in all of the legal field, and one of the most difficult to understand for non-lawyers, is what happens when two laws conflict with each other. This is the realm of conflicts of laws.

What is a Conflict of Law?

There are fifty states in the United States, plus the District of Columbia and the federal government. A conflict of law arises when the laws of multiple states could, in theory, apply to a set of circumstances.

For example, imagine a car accident happens here in Syracuse. The driver of one car lives in Vermont, but the driver of the other car lives in South Carolina. The accident probably happened because of a defect in the axle of the Vermont driver’s car that might have violated regulations made by the federal government. This car was manufactured in Michigan, but the axle was built in Florida.

The Vermont driver files a personal injury lawsuit in Vermont. Which state’s law does the court use to decide the case? The answer is important because which state’s law applies can drastically impact the outcome of the case.

The Numerous Viewpoints in Conflicts of Laws

To make things even more confusing, legal issues in another field of law, like contracts, can have problems that most states solve in one way, but a few other states solve another way. This creates a two-way split, with a majority and a minority viewpoint. In conflicts of law, however, there are four different viewpoints, each with not-so-subtle nuances that vary from state to state. Additionally, while a plurality of states have adopted one of these viewpoints, there is no clear majority.

Conflicts of Law Issues Come Up All the Time in Family Law

Conflicts of law issues arise constantly in family law. Oftentimes, this happens in the context of enforcing maintenance or support agreements after you or your spouse has moved to another state. These types of complications are often very stressful and can be very confusing without the proper legal help.  

Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Whenever a conflict of law situation comes up, having a family law attorney by your side can make a huge difference in the final outcome. This is because, whenever there are multiple laws that can apply to a situation, it is crucial to convince the court to use the right one, and this is not intuitive to many attorneys outside the family law field. Contact the Bombardo Law Office, P.C. online or at (315) 488-5544 to talk to one of our family law attorneys.

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