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Capozzoli v. Capozzoli

Decided: March 14, 1949.

MARY CAPOZZOLI, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
VINCENT CAPOZZOLI, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from the former Court of Chancery.

For affirmance: Justices Heher, Wachenfeld, Burling and Ackerson. For reversal: Chief Justice Vanderbilt and Justice Case. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.

Wachenfeld

The decision here rests primarily upon the credence to be given to the testimony of the wife and husband as their respective charges and denials of domestic misconduct are paraded for judicial determination on the wife's petition for a divorce on the ground of extreme cruelty.

The court below doubted the veracity of the wife's story and pointedly disposed of it by saying:

"Having observed the wife during the course of her testimony and having heard and reread the evidence, I have come to the conclusion that her testimony is highly exaggerated and reflects the animus, lack of regard and absence of love and respect for her husband

which she admits was present almost from the inception of their marriage and is the result of what I conceived to be almost a rabid effort and determination to rid herself of the defendant."

And again:

"I am satisfied that the allegations of the complaint and the testimony of the plaintiff reflects fancied grievances testified by her in an exaggerated manner. I attached very little credence to any statement made by her as to a substantive allegation of the complaint * * *"

The husband's version touched a more responsive chord and was somewhat kindly catalogued as follows:

"In summing up and evaluating the testimony of the witnesses I was greatly impressed with the testimony and appearance of the defendant himself. He appeared to the court as being an industrious foreigner, perhaps not too highly educated but yet not illiterate, whose primary interest in life was to keep his home together, educate his children and maintain his family in a respectable manner in the small community in which they lived in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey."

The inevitable result of these conclusions was the denial of the divorce prayed for, from which decision the wife prosecutes this appeal.

The parties were married in 1926, at which time the appellant was sixteen years of age and the respondent twenty-six. They have two children, a daughter twenty and a son eighteen years of age. They lived together until February 1947, when the wife separated from her husband as ...


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