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DONLAN v. DONLAN (03/22/61)

March 22, 1961

DONLAN
v.
DONLAN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 320, Oct. T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1958, No. 1376, in case of John J. Donlan v. Sara B. Rogers Donlan. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Stanford Shmukler, with him Harry P. Voldow, for appellant.

Arthur C. Thomas, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 428]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

This appeal is from the order of the court below granting a final decree in divorce in favor of the husband, appellee, on the ground of indignities to the person. The testimony was heard by a master and his report recommended that the complaint be dismissed because the plaintiff failed to meet the burden of proof necessary to sustain the charge. From this recommendation, plaintiff filed exceptions as well as to the findings of fact that the incidents complained of did not reflect settled hatred and estrangement on the part of the defendant and that defendant did not indicate contempt for plaintiff. After argument, the court below sustained the exceptions, made its own findings of fact and conclusions of law and ordered the entry of a final decree in divorce in favor of the plaintiff.

The parties were married at Philadelphia on September 3, 1949. They resided in Philadelphia throughout the entire period of cohabitation until February 1, 1958, when they became permanently separated. This was the first marriage for the plaintiff and the second for the defendant. At the time of the marriage, plaintiff was nearly 29 years of age and the defendant was 34 years of age. No children were born of this marriage.

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 429]

Plaintiff was employed as an instructor at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, and defendant was employed as a stenographer by the City of Philadelphia.

Marital difficulties between the parties commenced immediately after marriage. While they were on their honeymoon, defendant humiliated plaintiff in the presence of others by insisting that he take part in a hypnotism demonstration. Upon their return, defendant announced that she was going to run their apartment and their finances and that she was going to run the place like a store. Plaintiff testified that there were constant disagreements as to finances. After this insecure marital beginning, the parties continued to be confronted with behavior difficulties and serious misunderstandings during the entire period they lived together. The parties were separated on three different occasions before the fourth and final separation.

In the first month of their marriage, defendant refused to visit plaintiff's family in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and refused to allow him money to go alone. She stated that only bums lived there in broken-down shacks. In October, 1949, defendant thought she was pregnant and became enraged. She accused her husband of ruining her life and threatened to cause an abortion upon herself. Plaintiff testified that he was frequently embarrassed by defendant's discussing their intimate activities in telephone conversations with her acquaintances.

In August, 1951, plaintiff stated he was humiliated in front of his family and friends at a funeral in Shamokin by his wife's portrayal of a homosexual they had once seen on the train and when he quietly reprimanded her for this conduct, she cursed him aloud and stated she would do as she pleased. This action was corroborated by ...


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