MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
The issue before us is whether, in this action for child support, the California state courts may exercise in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident, nondomiciliary parent of minor children domiciled within the State. For reasons set forth below, we hold that the exercise of such jurisdiction would violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Appellant Ezra Kulko married appellee Sharon Kulko Horn in 1959, during appellant's three-day stopover in California en route from a military base in Texas to a tour of duty in Korea. At the time of this marriage, both parties were domiciled in and residents of New York State. Immediately following
Following the separation, Sharon Kulko moved to San Francisco, Cal. A written separation agreement was drawn up in New York; in September 1972, Sharon Kulko flew to New York City in order to sign this agreement. The agreement provided, inter alia, that the children would remain with their father during the school year but would spend their Christmas, Easter, and summer vacations with their mother. While Sharon Kulko waived any claim for her own support or maintenance, Ezra Kulko agreed to pay his wife $3,000 per year in child support for the periods when the children were in her care, custody, and control. Immediately after execution of the separation agreement, Sharon Kulko flew to Haiti and procured a divorce there;
The children resided with appellant during the school year and with their mother on vacations, as provided by the separation agreement, until December 1973. At this time, just before Ilsa was to leave New York to spend Christmas vacation with her mother, she told her father that she wanted to remain in California after her vacation. Appellant bought his daughter a one-way plane ticket, and Ilsa left, taking her
Less than one month after Darwin's arrival in California, appellee Horn commenced this action against appellant in the California Superior Court. She sought to establish the Haitian divorce decree as a California judgment; to modify the judgment so as to award her full custody of the children; and to increase appellant's child-support obligations.
The trial court summarily denied the motion to quash, and appellant sought review in the California Court of Appeal by petition for a writ of mandate. Appellant did not contest the court's jurisdiction for purposes of the custody determination, but, with respect to the claim for increased support, he renewed his argument that the California courts lacked personal jurisdiction over him. The appellate court affirmed the denial of appellant's motion to quash, reasoning that, by consenting to his children's living in California, appellant had "caused
The California Supreme Court granted appellant's petition for review, and in a 4-2 decision sustained the rulings of the lower state courts. 19 Cal.3d 514, 564 P.2d 353 (1977). It noted first that the California Code of Civil Procedure demonstrated an intent that the courts of California utilize all bases of in personam jurisdiction "not inconsistent with the Constitution."
In the view of the two dissenting justices, permitting a minor child to move to California could not be regarded as a
On Ezra Kulko's appeal to this Court, probable jurisdiction was postponed. 434 U.S. 983 (1977). We have concluded that jurisdiction by appeal does not lie,
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment operates as a limitation on the jurisdiction of state courts to enter judgments affecting rights or interests of nonresident defendants. See Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 198-200 (1977). It has long been the rule that a valid judgment imposing a personal obligation or duty in favor of the plaintiff may be entered only by a court having jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 732-733 (1878); International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U. S., at 316. The existence of personal jurisdiction, in turn, depends upon the presence of reasonable notice to the defendant that an action has been brought, Mullane v. Central Hanover Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 313-314 (1950), and a sufficient connection between the defendant and the forum State to make it fair to require defense of the action in the forum. Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463-464 (1940). In this case, appellant does not dispute the adequacy of the notice that he received, but contends that his connection with the State of California is too attenuated, under the standards implicit in the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, to justify imposing upon him the burden and inconvenience of defense in California.
Like any standard that requires a determination of "reasonableness," the "minimum contacts" test of International Shoe is not susceptible of mechanical application; rather, the facts of each case must be weighed to determine whether the requisite "affiliating circumstances" are present. Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 246 (1958). We recognize that this determination is one in which few answers will be written "in black and white. The greys are dominant and even among them the shades are innumerable." Estin v. Estin, 334 U.S. 541, 545 (1948). But we believe that the California Supreme Court's application of the minimum-contacts test in this case represents an unwarranted extension of International Shoe and would, if sustained, sanction a result that is neither fair, just, nor reasonable.
In reaching its result, the California Supreme Court did not rely on appellant's glancing presence in the State some 13
Finally, in holding that personal jurisdiction existed, the court below carefully disclaimed reliance on the fact that appellant had agreed at the time of separation to allow his children to live with their mother three months a year and that he had sent them to California each year pursuant to this agreement. As was noted below, 19 Cal. 3d, at 523-524, 564 P. 2d, at 357, to find personal jurisdiction in a State on this basis, merely because the mother was residing there, would discourage parents from entering into reasonable visitation agreements. Moreover, it could arbitrarily subject one parent to suit in any State of the Union where the other parent chose to spend time while having custody of their offspring pursuant to a separation agreement.
The "purposeful act" that the California Supreme Court believed did warrant the exercise of personal jurisdiction over appellant in California was his "actively and fully consent[ing] to Ilsa living in California for the school year . . . and . . . sen[ding] her to California for that purpose." 19 Cal. 3d, at 524, 564 P. 2d, at 358. We cannot accept the proposition that appellant's acquiescence in Ilsa's desire to live with her mother conferred jurisdiction over appellant in the California courts in this action. A father who agrees, in the interests of family harmony and his children's preferences, to allow them to spend more time in California than was required under a separation agreement can hardly be said to have "purposefully availed himself" of the "benefits and protections" of California's laws. See Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U. S., at 216.
Nor can we agree with the assertion of the court below that the exercise of in personam jurisdiction here was warranted by the financial benefit appellant derived from his daughter's presence in California for nine months of the year. 19 Cal. 3d, at 524-525, 564 P. 2d, at 358. This argument rests on the premise that, while appellant's liability for support payments
In light of our conclusion that appellant did not purposefully derive benefit from any activities relating to the State of California, it is apparent that the California Supreme Court's reliance on appellant's having caused an "effect" in California was misplaced. See supra, at 89. This "effects" test is derived from the American Law Institute's Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 37 (1971), which provides:
While this provision is not binding on this Court, it does not in any event support the decision below. As is apparent from the examples accompanying § 37 in the Restatement, this section was intended to reach wrongful activity outside of the State causing injury within the State, see, e. g., Comment a, p. 157 (shooting bullet from one State into another), or commercial activity affecting state residents, ibid. Even in such situations, moreover, the Restatement recognizes that there might be circumstances that would render "unreasonable" the assertion of jurisdiction over the nonresident defendant.
The circumstances in this case clearly render "unreasonable" California's assertion of personal jurisdiction. There is no claim that appellant has visited physical injury on either
Finally, basic considerations of fairness point decisively in favor of appellant's State of domicile as the proper forum for adjudication of this case, whatever the merits of appellee's underlying claim. It is appellant who has remained in the State of the marital domicile, whereas it is appellee who has moved across the continent. Cf. May v. Anderson, 345 U.S. 528, 534-535, n. 8 (1953). Appellant has at all times resided in New York State, and, until the separation and appellee's move to California, his entire family resided there as well. As noted above, appellant did no more than acquiesce in the stated preference of one of his children to live with her mother in California. This single act is surely not one that a reasonable parent would expect to result in the substantial financial burden and personal strain of litigating a child-support suit in a forum 3,000 miles away, and we therefore see no basis on which it can be said that appellant could reasonably have
In seeking to justify the burden that would be imposed on appellant were the exercise of in personam jurisdiction in California sustained, appellee argues that California has substantial interests in protecting the welfare of its minor residents and in promoting to the fullest extent possible a healthy and supportive family environment in which the children of the State are to be raised. These interests are unquestionably important. But while the presence of the children and one parent in California arguably might favor application of California law in a lawsuit in New York, the fact that California may be the "`center of gravity'" for choice-of-law purposes does not mean that California has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Hanson v. Denckla, supra, at 254. And California has not attempted to assert any particularized interest in trying such cases in its courts by, e. g., enacting a special jurisdictional statute. Cf. McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., supra, at 221, 224.
California's legitimate interest in ensuring the support of children resident in California without unduly disrupting the children's lives, moreover, is already being served by the State's participation in the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act of 1968. This statute provides a mechanism
It cannot be disputed that California has substantial interests in protecting resident children and in facilitating child-support actions on behalf of those children. But these interests simply do not make California a "fair forum," Shaffer v. Heitner, supra, at 215, in which to require appellant, who derives no personal or commercial benefit from his child's presence in California and who lacks any other
We therefore believe that the state courts in the instant case failed to heed our admonition that "the flexible standard of International Shoe" does not "heral[d] the eventual demise of all restrictions on the personal jurisdiction of state courts." Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U. S., at 251. In McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., we commented on the extension of in personam jurisdiction under evolving standards of due process, explaining that this trend was in large part "attributable to the . . . increasing nationalization of commerce . . . [accompanied by] modern transportation and communication [that] have made it much less burdensome for a party sued to defend himself in a State where he engages in economic activity." 355 U. S., at 222-223. But the mere act of sending a child to California to live with her mother is not a commercial act and connotes no intent to obtain or expectancy of receiving a corresponding benefit in the State that would make fair the assertion of that State's judicial jurisdiction.
Accordingly, we conclude that the appellant's motion to quash service, on the ground of lack of personal jurisdiction, was erroneously denied by the California courts. The judgment of the California Supreme Court is, therefore,
MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, with whom MR. JUSTICE WHITE and MR. JUSTICE POWELL join, dissenting.
The Court properly treats this case as presenting a single narrow question. That question is whether the California Supreme Court correctly "weighed" "the facts," ante, at 92, of this particular case in applying the settled "constitutional standard," ibid., that before state courts may exercise in
"A court of this state may exercise jurisdiction on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution of this state or of the United States."
The opinion below does not appear to distinguish between the requirements of the Federal and State Constitutions. See 19 Cal. 3d, at 521-522, 564 P. 2d, at 356.
Appellant requested that, in the event that appellate jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1257 (2) was found lacking, the papers be acted upon as a petition for certiorari pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 2103. We follow the practice of both Hanson and May in deeming the papers to be a petition for a writ of certiorari. As in Hanson and May, moreover, we shall continue to refer to the parties herein as appellant and appellee to minimize confusion. See 357 U. S., at 244; 345 U. S., at 530.
Appellee Horn argues that appellant's request for a continuance amounted to a general appearance and a waiver of jurisdictional objections, and that accordingly there is no longer a live controversy as to the jurisdictional issue before us. Appellee's argument concerning the jurisdictional effect of a motion for a continuance, however, does not find support in the California statutes, rules, or cases that she cites. Moreover, the state trial court expressly determined, subsequent to the request for a continuance, that appellant had "made a special appearance only to contest the jurisdiction of the Court." Id., at i. Under these circumstances, appellant's challenge to the state court's in personam jurisdiction is not moot.
In Landes v. Landes, 1 N.Y.2d 358, 135 N.E.2d 562, appeal dismissed, 352 U.S. 948 (1956), the court upheld a support decree entered against a divorced husband living in New York, on a petition filed by his former wife in California pursuant to the Uniform Act. No prior support agreement or decree existed between the parties; the California spouse sought support from the New York husband for the couple's minor child, who was residing with her mother in California. The New York Court of Appeals concluded that the procedures followed—filing of a petition in California, followed by its certification to New York's Family Court, the obtaining of jurisdiction over the husband, a hearing in New York on the merits of the petition, and entry of an award—were proper under the laws of both States and were constitutional. The constitutionality of these procedures has also been upheld in other jurisdictions. See, e. g., Watson v. Dreadin, 309 A.2d 493 (DC 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 959 (1974); State ex rel. Terry v. Terry, 80 N.M. 185, 453 P.2d 206 (1969); Harmon v. Harmon, 184 Cal.App.2d 245, 7 Cal.Rptr. 279 (1960), appeal dismissed and cert. denied, 366 U.S. 270 (1961).