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Kirkpatrick v. District Court

Nevada Supreme Court
64 P.3d 1056 (Nev. 2003)



Upon their divorce, Bruce Kirkpatrick (plaintiff) and Karen Karay were awarded joint custody of their daughter SierraDawn. While living with her mother in New Mexico, 15-year-old SierraDawn desired to marry 48-year-old Sauren Crow. New Mexico law prohibited the marriage because of SierraDawn’s age. Karay approved of the marriage. Thus, she, SierraDawn, and Crow traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, which permitted marriages by minors under the age of 16 with the consent of one parent and court approval. The Clark County District Court (District Court) (defendant) approved SierraDawn’s petition, and she and Crow were married. When Kirkpatrick learned of the situation, he filed an ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO) in a New Mexico court to give him immediate legal and physical custody of SierraDawn. The court granted the TRO but rescinded it four days later upon determining that the Nevada marriage was valid and, consequently, that it had effectively emancipated SierraDawn from the control of her parents. Kirkpatrick filed a writ of mandamus to vacate the District Court’s approval of SierraDawn’s marriage and to annul it.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Shearing, J.)

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