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ARNOLD v. ARNOLD (07/20/50)

July 20, 1950

ARNOLD
v.
ARNOLD



COUNSEL

Hyman Goldstein and E. M. Biddle, Jr., Carlisle, for appellant.

No book or appearance for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Ross

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 212]

ROSS, Judge.

In this uncontested divorce action, the parties were married on November 25, 1936 and resided together until January 1945, when the wife left the home, and on August 24, 1948 filed her complaint seeking a divorce on the ground of indignities. The master recommended that the divorce be refused, exceptions to his report were dismissed by the court below, the complaint dismissed, and the plaintiff-wife took this appeal.

To support a decree in divorce indignities must consist of a course of conduct which renders the condition 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.

According to the testimony of the plaintiff, the course of conduct of which she complains began about two months after the marriage and continued until she left the home in January 1945. If her testimony is credible, she showed a course of conduct that would entitle her to a divorce but we shall discuss her credibility later. She had some slight corroboration but her case must

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 213]

    stand or fall on her own testimony. However, a decree in divorce may be supported by the testimony of the plaintiff alone. Kett v. Kett, 117 Pa. Super. 236, 177 A. 509.

The plaintiff is a registered nurse and was employed as such prior to the marriage. For about two years after the marriage she did not practise her profession but then went to work at the Carlisle Hospital, where she is still employed.

According to her testimony, her husband had a 'violent temper' and was always calling her vile names and accusing her of running around with other men; that he slapped her numerous times, in 1944 threatened to kill her, choked her -- which we shall also discuss later -- and that his treatment affected her nerves so that she required hospitalization for a nervous condition. She testified relative to various personal assaults which, although apparently not serious, yet inflicted bruises and marks on her body. According to her, the defendant continuously called her vile names and accused her of infidelity when they were alone and also in the presence of others. She testified that because of her work as a nurse at the Carlisle Hospital her hours of returning home at night were uncertain and irregular and consequently when she did return to the home he immediately accused her of having been with other men.

The master recommended that the divorce be refused because he was convinced that the 'plaintiff fabricated her case for the purpose of accomplishing a severance of her marriage contract to the established law of the Commonwealth * * *', stating that he based his conclusion that the plaintiff's testimony is incredible and untrue ...


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