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Wells v. Wells

Decided: February 13, 1962.

GEORGE A. WELLS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTIE BELLE ROBINSON WELLS, DEFENDANT



Hand, J.s.c.

Hand

Plaintiff George A. Wells seeks a dissolution of his marriage to Mattie Belle Robinson Wells on the ground of desertion.

The parties were married November 26, 1929.

Plaintiff proved and corroborated the marriage, his residence for jurisdictional purposes and the cause of action.

Although the desertion occurred on or about April 1, 1933, the court holds that the defense of laches should not be invoked.

It should be noted that at the outset of the hearing, the attorney for plaintiff, William L. Brach, Esq., stated frankly that plaintiff married another woman, namely, one Ruby Wells, in the year 1944, some 11 years after the desertion by defendant, Mattie.

Plaintiff's testimony was very credible. He admitted that he learned that Mattie was still living during the early part of 1961. In fact, defendant was served with copies of the summons and complaint in Detroit, Michigan, on July 11, 1961.

Plaintiff also testified that he and Ruby continued to live together as husband and wife and had sexual relations after plaintiff had learned of the fact that Mattie was still alive.

Although defendant filed no answer and the case was heard as an uncontested matter, the court invoked the defense of recrimination and dismissed the complaint on the ground that plaintiff had committed adultery with Ruby after the cause of action in his favor had arisen against Mattie on the ground of desertion.

Attorney Brach, in addition to measuring up fully to his function as an officer of the court, represented his client with utmost diligence.

Plaintiff's attorney stated that there is no case directly in point in New Jersey to the matter at bar. The court has been unable to find any precedent containing a similar factual situation in which a judgment for divorce was entered.

Plaintiff's attorney submitted two well-reasoned memoranda. Plaintiff himself proved to be an appealing ...


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