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CARTER v. CARTER (04/13/50)

April 13, 1950

CARTER
v.
CARTER



COUNSEL

Edward I. Weisberg, Philadelphia, for appellant.

G. S. Levitt, Levitt and Friss, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Fine, JJ.

Author: Ross

[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 500]

ROSS, Judge.

This is a divorce action brought by a husband alleging that his wife committed indignities to his person. The matter was referred to a master who, after several hearings, recommended that divorce be granted. His recommendation was accepted by the court below which, after dismissing respondent's exceptions thereto, entered a decree in divorce, and the wife respondent took this appeal.

The parties were married on March 5, 1942 and resided together until April 23, 1947, when the libellant left the marital habitation and on November 6, 1947 filed his libel. One child, a daughter who resides with the respondent, was born to the couple on January 5, 1943.

Indignities to support a decree in divorce must be 'to the person' of the injured spouse. Hepworth v. Hepworth, 129 Pa. Super. 360, 195 A. 924. They must consist of a course of conduct which renders the condition

[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 501]

    of the innocent party intolerable and his or her life burdensome, and they must be shown by evidence from which an inference of settled hate and estrangement may be deduced. Davidsen v. Davidsen, 127 Pa. Super. 138, 191 A. 619; Monaco v. Monaco, 160 Pa. Super. 117, 50 A.2d 520; Bock v. Bock, 162 Pa. Super. 506, 58 A.2d 372.

In this case, the record is voluminous, consisting of 460 typewritten pages of testimony. The respondent has categorically denied every allegation of wrongdoing and she produced witnesses who tended to support or explain her denials. The libellant's allegations -- or some of them -- were supported by the testimony of his mother and his sister. It is the type of divorce case in which no purpose is served by a lengthy discussion of the testimony. From a reading of it, however, it is obvious that the libellant was -- or is -- interested not only in securing a divorce but in besmirching his wife. As one of many illustrations of the latter, he testified, for no apparent reason and certainly with no bearing on the case, about intimate relations between the parties before their marriage.

The libellant's material allegations of wrongdoing on the part of his wife consist mostly of her embarrassing and humiliating actions in public and her calling him vile names. These allegations, denied by the respondent, are supported by the testimony of the libellant and, in part, by the testimony of his mother and his sister. However, from an examination of their testimony, it appears that the respondent's alleged offense occurred when she was intoxicated. The 'embarrassing and humiliating actions in public' occurred only in taprooms or after visits to them. The testimony relative to name calling may be summarized and illustrated by the ...


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