Aldrich v. Aldrich, No. 12139

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtHAYMOND; GIVEN
Citation127 S.E.2d 385,147 W.Va. 269
PartiesMarguerite Loretta ALDRICH v. William T. ALDRICH et al.
Decision Date22 October 1962
Docket NumberNo. 12139

Page 385

127 S.E.2d 385
147 W.Va. 269
Marguerite Loretta ALDRICH
v.
William T. ALDRICH et al.
No. 12139.
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
Submitted April 24, 1962.
Decided July 6, 1962.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 22, 1962.

Page 386

Syllabus by the Court

1. A valid judgment of a court of another state is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of this state.

2. By virtue of the full faith and credit clause, Article IV, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States, a judgment of a court of another state has the same force and effect in this state as it has in the state in which it was pronounced.

[147 W.Va. 270] 3. To maintain an action in one state on a foreign judgment or decree, it is necessary that the judgment or decree be a valid personal and final adjudication which is in full force and virtue in the jurisdiction where it was rendered and be capable of enforcement there by final process and the adjudication must have been rendered by a court which had jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.

4. In an action on a judgment of another state the validity of the judgment is determined by the law of the jurisdiction in which the judgment was recovered.

5. A judgment rendered by a court of another state or by a court of this state is subject to attack for lack of jurisdiction to render such judgment or for fraud in its procurement.

6. When a judgment or decree of a court of another state is sought to be enforced in a court of this state, the court in this state may inquire into the jurisdiction of the court which rendered the judgment or decree, and if it appears that such court had no jurisdiction, the judgment or decree is void; but if it had jurisdiction, the judgment or decree is binding in this state.

7. A void judgment, being a nullity, may be attacked collaterally, or directly, at any time and in any court whenever any claim or right is asserted under such judgment.

8. The jurisdiction to entertain suits for divorce exists only by virtue of statute which confers such jurisdiction.

9. The Florida statute authorizing an award of permanent alimony in a decree of divorce does not authorize or empower a court of that state to award alimony to continue beyond the life of the husband.

10. In the divorce proceeding between the plaintiff and her husband, the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, had jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter of the controversy and had the power to render a judgment dissolving the marriage between the parties; but, in the absence of any agreement between the parties, that court did not have jurisdiction to award alimony to extend beyond the death of the husband and to make such alimony a [147 W.Va. 271] charge against his estate. For that reason the judgment awarding such alimony was void and of no force and effect under the law of the State of Florida and will not be given full faith and credit in the courts of this state.

H. D. Rollins, Charleston, for appellant.

Ernest H. Gilbert, Charleston, for appellee.

HAYMOND, Judge.

In this civil action instituted in the Circuit Court of Putnam County, in which the defendants are William T. Aldrich, son of M. S. Aldrich, deceased, Natalie Aldrich, wife of William T. Aldrich, M. S. Aldrich & Associates, Inc., Aldrich-Slicer Company, a corporation, assets in which corporations were formerly owned by M. S. Aldrich, and John C. White, Executor of the will of M. S. Aldrich, deceased, the plaintiff, Marguerite Loretta Aldrich, divorced wife of M. S. Aldrich, deceased, seeks to enforce the collection, against the estate

Page 387

of M. S. Aldrich, deceased, and certain property now owned by William T. Aldrich, and certain assets formerly owned by M. S. Aldrich and now held by William T. Aldrich, or M. S. Aldrich & Associates, Inc., or Aldrich-Slicer Company, of a certain decree for alimony at the rate of $215.00 per month awarded the plaintiff in a certain divorce suit formerly pending in the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida. By final order entered August 2, 1961, the Circuit Court of Putnam County, upon the undisputed facts appearing in the pleadings, which consisted of the amended complaint of the plaintiff and its exhibits and the separate answers of each of the defendants, and in the stipulation of counsel, found that the defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor and rendered judgment of dismissal of the plaintiff's amended complaint, with prejudice, and awarded costs in favor of the defendants. [147 W.Va. 272] From that judgment this Court granted this appeal upon the petition of the plaintiff.

In a suit for divorce instituted by the plaintiff Marguerite Loretta Aldrich against her husband M. S. Aldrich in the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, by final decree entered June 1, 1945, that court granted the plaintiff Marguerite Loretta Aldrich an absolute divorce from her husband M. S. Aldrich. The divorce decree contained, among other provisions which are not here material, this provision concerning alimony for the wife: 'That the defendant, Moriel Simeon Aldrich, be and he is hereby ordered and required to pay to the plaintiff, Marguerite Loretta Aldrich, the monthly sum of $250.00 as and for her permanent alimony, said sum to be paid to her monthly at the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court at Miami, Dade County, Florida, and in the event the defendant, Moriel Simeon Aldrich shall predecease the plaintiff, Marguerite Loretta Aldrich, said monthly sum of $250.00 shall, upon the death of said defendant become a charge upon his estate during her lifetime; and this Court retains jurisdiction in respect thereto; * * *.' By a subsequent decree in the same suit entered June 25, 1946, the amount of the alimony was reduced from the sum of $250.00 per month to the sum of $215.00 per month from and after that date. M. S. Aldrich paid the monthly award of $215.00 in full until his death, which occurred May 29, 1958. M. S. Aldrich, who was survived by his second wife, Angela Aldrich, died testate while a resident of Putnam County, and under his last will and testament, which was duly probated, his son, the defendant William T. Aldrich, and his second wife, Angela Aldrich, are the sole beneficiaries of his estate.

The defendant John C. White was named and has qualified as executor of the estate, which is now in process of administration, and the assets of the estate according to the appraisement filed with the amended complaint, consisting of personal property and a small undivided interest in real estate, amount to a total of $7,283.50, which is less than the amount of the unpaid alimony which has accrued under the divorce decree from the death of M. S. Aldrich to the date of the institution of this action.

[147 W.Va. 273] M. S. Aldrich owned a parcel of land containing about ten acres in Putnam County which was conveyed to him by C. B. Hildreth. On April 22, 1942, he made a deed for that land to his son Edwin M. Aldrich, who at that time was under the age of twenty one years and a cadet at West Point. The plaintiff, as the wife of M. S. Aldrich, joined in and signed and acknowledged that deed. On Noember 15, 1946, Edwin M. Aldrich and Marge Taylor Aldrich, his wife, conveyed the same property to William T. Aldrich, another son of M. S. Aldrich and one of the defendants in this case. Notwithstanding these conveyances M. S. Aldrich continued to occupy this land as his home until his death. M. S. Aldrich, who owned assets in M. S. Aldrich & Associates, Inc. and Aldrich-Slicer Company, also transferred his interest and control in these corporations to his son William T. Aldrich.

Page 388

The plaintiff charges that the conveyance by M. S. Aldrich, in which she joined as his wife, to Edwin M. Aldrich, of the residence property of M. S. Aldrich was without consideration and that the transfer of assets in the two corporations which M. S. Aldrich formerly owned and controlled was also without consideration, and that the land and those assets, as well as the assets of the estate of M. S. Aldrich, are subject to the judgment of the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, for alimony which has accrued and which has been unpaid since the death of M. S. Aldrich.

The plaintiff contends that the judgment of the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, which awards the plaintiff alimony at the rate of $215.00 per month during her lifetime and which makes alimony which accrues after the death of M. S. Aldrich a charge upon his estate, is a valid judgment of another state and as such is entitled to full faith and credit in this state and is enforceable against the assets of the estate of M. S. Aldrich and the real estate and other assets formerly owned by him which have been transferred to and are now held by his son, the defendant William T. Aldrich.

On the contrary the defendants contend, in substance, that the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, was without jurisdiction to award alimony against the defendant M. S. Aldrich which would be valid and enforceable against his estate [147 W.Va. 274] after his death; that the decree of the Florida court is not enforceable in this action for the reason that it is contrary to the laws of this state and is not within the full faith and credit provisions of the Constitution of the United States and that, even if it should be held to be a valid judgment, it is not enforceable against the property and assets formerly held by M. S. Aldrich and now held by the defendant William T. Aldrich or M. S. Aldrich & Associates, Inc., or Aldrich-Slicer Company, for the reason that the claim of the plaintiff against such property and assets is barred by limitations.

The controlling question for decision is whether the judgment of the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, to the extent that it awards alimony to accrue after the death of M. S. Aldrich and makes the alimony so accruing a charge upon his estate, is a valid judgment which is...

To continue reading

Request your trial
18 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Lynn v. Eddy, No. 12748
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • October 1, 1968
    ...is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of this State. Brady v. Brady, 151 W.Va. 900, 158 S.E.2d 359; Aldrich v. Aldrich, 147 W.Va. 269, 127 S.E.2d 385, reversed on other grounds, 378 U.S. 540, 84 S.Ct. 1687, 12 L.Ed.2d 1020; Gavenda Brothers, Inc. v. Elkins Limestone Company, In......
  • Rakes v. Ferguson, No. 12212
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • March 19, 1963
    ...or directly at any time and in any court whenever any claim or right is asserted under such judgment. Aldrich v. Aldrich, W.Va., 127 S.E.2d 385; Gavenda Brothers, Inc. v. Elkins Limestone Company, Inc., 145 W.Va. 732, 116 S.E.2d 910; State ex rel. Cecil v. Knapp, 143 W.Va. 896, 105 S.E.2d 5......
  • State ex rel. Smith v. Boles, No. 12485
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • January 12, 1966
    ...error, even of a prejudicial, reversible nature. These principles were so well illustrated in the final decision in Aldrich v. Aldrich, 147 W.Va. 269, 127 S.E.2d 385; 163 So.2d 276 (Fla.), 378 U.S. 540, 84 S.Ct. 1687, 12 L.Ed.2d 1020. That case illustrates the distinction between jurisdicti......
  • Beane v. Dailey, No. 34630.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • April 1, 2010
    ...be attacked at any time." Dierkes v. Dierkes, 165 W.Va. 425, 430, 268 S.E.2d 142, 145 (1980). See Syllabus Point 7, Aldrich v. Aldrich, 147 W.Va. 269, 127 S.E.2d 385 (1962) judgment rev'd on other grounds by 378 U.S. 540, 84 S.Ct. 1687, 12 L.Ed.2d 1020 (1964); Syllabus Point 1, Cable v. Cab......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • State ex rel. Lynn v. Eddy, No. 12748
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • October 1, 1968
    ...is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of this State. Brady v. Brady, 151 W.Va. 900, 158 S.E.2d 359; Aldrich v. Aldrich, 147 W.Va. 269, 127 S.E.2d 385, reversed on other grounds, 378 U.S. 540, 84 S.Ct. 1687, 12 L.Ed.2d 1020; Gavenda Brothers, Inc. v. Elkins Limestone Company, In......
  • Rakes v. Ferguson, No. 12212
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • March 19, 1963
    ...or directly at any time and in any court whenever any claim or right is asserted under such judgment. Aldrich v. Aldrich, W.Va., 127 S.E.2d 385; Gavenda Brothers, Inc. v. Elkins Limestone Company, Inc., 145 W.Va. 732, 116 S.E.2d 910; State ex rel. Cecil v. Knapp, 143 W.Va. 896, 105 S.E.2d 5......
  • State ex rel. Smith v. Boles, No. 12485
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • January 12, 1966
    ...error, even of a prejudicial, reversible nature. These principles were so well illustrated in the final decision in Aldrich v. Aldrich, 147 W.Va. 269, 127 S.E.2d 385; 163 So.2d 276 (Fla.), 378 U.S. 540, 84 S.Ct. 1687, 12 L.Ed.2d 1020. That case illustrates the distinction between jurisdicti......
  • Beane v. Dailey, No. 34630.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • April 1, 2010
    ...be attacked at any time." Dierkes v. Dierkes, 165 W.Va. 425, 430, 268 S.E.2d 142, 145 (1980). See Syllabus Point 7, Aldrich v. Aldrich, 147 W.Va. 269, 127 S.E.2d 385 (1962) judgment rev'd on other grounds by 378 U.S. 540, 84 S.Ct. 1687, 12 L.Ed.2d 1020 (1964); Syllabus Point 1, Cable v. Cab......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT