10 D.C. 415 (D.C.D.C. 1879), 5147, Strait v. Strait

Docket NºEQUITY.— 5147.
Citation10 D.C. 415
Opinion JudgeCARTTER, Ch. J.
AttorneyR. T. Morsell , for complainant. L. G. Hine and S. T. Thomas , for defendant.
CourtSupreme Court of District of Columbia

Page 415

10 D.C. 415 (D.C.D.C. 1879)




EQUITY.— No. 5147.

Supreme Court, District of Columbia.

September Term, 1879

I. A decree of divorce obtained in the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania, by one who does not reside there, is void for want of jurisdiction, and will be so declared here.

II. Fraud may also be set up against a judgment of divorce obtained in another State.


This is the case of a petition, by the wife, for a divorce; and for cause of divorce she charges the defendant with cruelty of treatment towards her, endangering her life and health, and with desertion for the period required by our statute.

Defendant's answer sets up a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, obtained January 28, 1876, by defendant, divorcing him from the bond of marriage with the complainant, upon his application, alleging desertion upon her part since June, 1873.

By her amended bill complainant charges fraud in the procurement of said decree, and want of jurisdiction in the court rendering the same.

The testimony shows that the defendant, then a child thirteen years of age, removed, with his parents, in 1861, from Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, to the city of Washington, where he has ever since remained, employed first in the ambulance corps, then in the service of an express company, and for the residue of the time in the United States Pension Office. The parties were married here, where both have continuously resided ever since. The alleged desertion of defendant by complainant is laid here. Defendant's Pennsylvania application for divorce was verified in the office of the clerk of this court, and the whole of the testimony offered in support of it was taken in this city, within three or four squares of complainant's residence, but without notice to her.

Complainant has never resided in Pennsylvania, and her first knowledge of the proceedings had there was derived from the copy of the decree filed with the defendant's answer to her bill. The jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania court is attempted to be supported on the ground that defendant has been in the habit of making an annual visit, of about one month's duration, to his parents, in Lycoming county, to which place they returned about one year after the removal to Washington; of claiming a residence there, and, since a year or two subsequent to his marriage, of voting there at...

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