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GEHRIS v. GEHRIS (03/31/75)

decided: March 31, 1975.

GEHRIS
v.
GEHRIS, APPELLANT



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County, Nov. T., 1972, No. 84, in case of James Gehris v. Nicole Gehris.

COUNSEL

Arthur Ed. Saylor, and Edelman, Schaeffer, Saylor, Readinger and Poore, for appellant.

Donald R. Butler and James F. Mundy, for appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Dissenting Opinion by Van der Voort, J. Price, J., joins in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Hoffman

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 145]

Appellant, the defendant in a divorce action in the court below, claims that her conduct did not constitute "indignities" sufficient to render the appellee-husband's life "intolerable" and "burdensome." Further, she contends

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 146]

    that the husband was not an "injured and innocent spouse."

In September, 1972, the husband filed a complaint for a divorce a.v.m. in the Court of Common Pleas for Susquehanna County against the appellant wherein he alleged indignities. The case was heard on June 6, 1973, by Judge Donald O'Malley, sitting without a jury. The court granted the husband a decree of divorce a.v.m. on November 13, 1973. The following are the facts as presented by the court below.

James and Nicole Gehris, parties to the action below, were married in France in 1960 during the husband's tour of duty with the Air Force. The couple came to the United States in 1961 and resided in Illinois at Scott Air Force base, where they began to experience marital difficulties. In 1964, the Gehrises moved to Carbondale, Illinois, where the husband attended college in an effort to improve his job opportunities. The marriage at that point was marred by the wife's frequent complaints that his attendance at school was worthless, that he should be earning money instead of attending school, and that he was not making enough money in his part-time job. After the husband completed college, he took a job as a rehabilitation counselor for the State of Illinois. Despite the husband's willingness to improve his job status and to work at part-time jobs in addition to his regular job, the wife was never satisfied with their financial status. Although she complained that she was never able to take a vacation, the wife, a French national, actually managed to take three trips to France during the marriage. She complained that Illinois was too flat; the husband responded by moving the family to Montrose, Pennsylvania, in 1967. Even after the family relocated in Pennsylvania, the wife continued to complain about living conditions. She consistently rejected her husband's suggestions to meet people socially, to join organizations, and to become an American citizen.

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 147]

The court found further that the wife abruptly left a Christmas party to the embarrassment of her husband; that she cashed a check for $400.00 from a joint account, thereby overdrawing the account and requiring the husband to take out a loan to cover the overdraft; that the wife destroyed a number of her husband's record albums and cut up part of his slide collection; that the husband, as a result of the tension in the marital abode, became nervous and ill and was unable to work effectively in his job as a rehabilitation counselor.

The wife alleged at trial that her husband was having an affair with another woman during their marriage and that he had told her that he wanted a divorce in order to marry the other woman. The husband, however, testified that he had started "keeping company" with the woman involved, a fellow worker at his place of employment, six months after he had left ...


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