Bell v. Bell, 6 Div. 148.

Citation17 So.2d 666,245 Ala. 478
Decision Date20 April 1944
Docket Number6 Div. 148.
PartiesBELL v. BELL
CourtSupreme Court of Alabama

Jas. G. Adams, Jr., of Birmingham, for appellant.

F.D. McArthur, of Birmingham, amicus curiae, for appellee.


Appeal from a decree of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County Alabama, in equity, granting a divorce--the relief prayed for in the cross-bill of Wallace Bell.

The appellant, Ruther Mae Bell, filed her bill of complaint in the Circuit Court, in Equity, of Jefferson County, on February 7, 1942, seeking a divorce, temporary and permanent alimony and solicitor's fees, from appellee, Wallace Bell, on the ground of adultery. On April 6, 1942, the court confirmed a report of the register, fixing $4 per week as temporary alimony, and $25 as solicitor's fee. Except for the issuance of several writs of garnishment to force the payment of temporary alimony, the status of the case remained unchanged until November 14, 1942, when appellee answered the bill of complaint, denied the charge of adultery, made his answer a cross-bill, and charged appellant with voluntary abandonment, praying for a divorce on that ground.

As stated in brief of appellant's counsel, "the complainant had learned that her husband, the respondent Wallace Bell, was about to be inducted in the Army. She suffered and allowed the court to dismiss the bill of complaint on the regular call of the printed docket, and the court did on the 18th day of November, 1942, through Hon E.M. Creel, Judge, enter an order dismissing the bill of complaint."

On January 15, 1943, on motion of appellee's counsel, a decree pro confesso was entered on the cross-bill. On January 21, 1943, the testimony of appellee and witnesses Catherine Milligan and Mary Williams was taken before E.M. Stevens, commissioner appointed for that purpose. On January 26, 1943, the testimony was published, and the cause submitted for final decree. On March 17, 1943, the cross-bill was amended, and on that day the decree appealed from, granting the relief prayed for in the cross-bill, was made and entered.

Appellant insists that the dismissal of the bill of complaint on November 18, 1942, carried with it the cross-bill.

The cross-bill as filed on November 14, 1942, did not allege that Wallace Bell had been a bona fide resident citizen of this State for twelve months next preceding the filing of the cross-bill.

We are mindful of the fact that jurisdiction of divorce cases in equity is statutory and limited, and not general: that the jurisdictional facts must appear. A cross-bill must be considered as if it were an original bill in this respect. Phillips v. Ashworth, 220 Ala. 237, 124 So. 519; Wright v. Wright, 200 Ala. 489, 76 So. 431; Cooper v. Cooper, 210 Ala. 13, 97 So. 66; section 27, Title 34, Code of 1940. The cross-bill was therefore subject to a general demurrer on the date the original bill was dismissed. Did the cross-bill necessarily go with it?

It was said in Anders v. Sandlin et al., 191 Ala. 158, 67 So. 684, 687: "It is the general rule, established by the decisions of this court, that a cross-bill which shows no equitable relief growing out of the subject-matter of the original bill, and which has no independent equity which would sustain the jurisdiction of the court, is carried out by the dismissal of the original bill."

And in Ex parte Burch, 236 Ala. 662, 184 So. 694, 696, it was further held: "The general rule is, that when the original bill is dismissed, the cross bill goes with it. But when the 'averments of the cross bill relate to and spring out of the subject matter embraced in the original bill, when such cross bill prays affirmative relief, which is equitable in its character, and which requires a cross bill for its presentation,' the dismissal of the original bill would not carry the cross bill with it."

Section 27, Title 34, Code of 1940, providing that, in divorce suits grounded on voluntary abandonment, the complaining party must allege and prove that he or she was a resident citizen of this State for twelve months next preceding the filing of the bill, relates to the remedy which is denied, unless the party applying for the divorce brings himself within the terms of the statute. Subdivision 3 of section 20, Title 34, Code of 1940, providing for a divorce "for voluntary abandonment from bed and board for two years next preceding the filing of the bill," relates to causes for divorce, and not to the...

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5 cases
  • Valenzuela v. Sellers
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 24 Febrero 1949
    ...Other reasons aside, the other defendants were in default and no notice was due them. Equity Rule 28, subd. 1(g); Bell v. Bell, 245 Ala. 478, 481, 17 So.2d 666. On the question of the sufficiency of the proof to sustain the decree, not only did the decree rest on a decree pro confesso, Rule......
  • Valenzuela v. Sellers
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 24 Febrero 1949
    ......142 VALENZUELA et al. v. SELLERS. 1 Div. 335. Supreme Court of Alabama. February 24, 1949 . . . ... Equity Rule 28, subd. 1(g); Bell" v. Bell, 245 Ala. 478, 481, 17 So.2d 666. . .    \xC2"... .        The decree entered. here on November 6, 1947, overruled the demurrer and remanded. the cause for ... serves complainant's said property as [253 Ala. 148] a. means of ingress and egress to and from the rear of ......
  • Arnold v. Arnold, 6 Div. 226.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 15 Junio 1944
    ...error. The dismissal of the original bill does not carry with it the cross-bill, which should be disposed of on its merits. Bell v. Bell, Ala.Sup., 17 So.2d 666. propriety of an allowance of alimony pendente lite, suit money and solicitor's fees in a proceeding for divorce is rested upon th......
  • Moseley v. Monteabaro, 2 Div. 200.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 20 Abril 1944
    ...... hereof is a copy of said decree. . . "6. Your complainants further aver that subsequent to said decree. both ......
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