Freund v. Burns.

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtMALTBIE, Chief Justice.
Citation131 Conn. 380,40 A.2d 754
Decision Date30 November 1944

131 Conn. 380
40 A.2d 754


Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

Nov. 30, 1944.

Appeal from Superior Court, Fairfield County; Munger, Judge.

Habeas corpus proceeding by Frances H. Freund against Henry T. Burns to obtain the custody of two minor children brought to the Superior Court and tried to the court. Judgment for defendant and appeal by plaintiff.

No error.

40 A.2d 755

Sheldon B. Smith, of Norwalk, and Sanford H. E. Freund, of New York City, for appellant.

Morton Weiss, of Bridgeport, and Seymour Morse, of New York City, for appellee.


MALTBIE, Chief Justice.

The parties were formerly husband and wife. Two children, girls, were born of the marriage and at the time of the trial they were respectively eleven and one-half and nine and one-half years old. In 1938 the parties were divorced by a decree of the Supreme Court of New York, in which state they then resided. The divorce judgment gave to each party custody of the children for a portion of the year. Thereafter various proceedings were had in the New York courts with reference to this part of the decree, and it was modified in certain respects. The last modification was by a decree of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rendered June 29, 1942, 264 App.Div. 894, 35 N.Y.S.2d 813, on an appeal from an order made by the Supreme Court on the application of the plaintiff. The decree as modified contained these provisions: The defendant was awarded sole custody of the children; the plaintiff was given the right to have them at her residence during the last half of the Christmas and Easter [school] vacations, for one week-end each month during the school year and during the summer school vacation except for one week in July and one week in August, when they were to be with the defendant; and the plaintiff was given the right to see them at any time while they were with the defendant, in case of their illness or other emergency. The plaintiff remarried in 1941 and thereafter became and is a resident of Connecticut. She brought this action to the Superior Court in order to obtain a judgment which would give her sole custody of the children. They were produced in court at the time of trial. The court gave judgment for the defendant, holding, among other conclusions, that, as no material change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the children could be found, it was without jurisdiction to give the plaintiff relief. From that judgment the plaintiff has appealed.

The trial court states in the finding that the plaintiff, on the trial, conceded that such a material change of circumstances must be shown as a basis for the exercise of jurisdiction by it. This statement is assigned as error, but we do not read the plaintiff's brief as questioning its substantial correctness as a general rule. It is supported by the great weight of authority. Notes, 20 A.L.R. 815, 72 A.L.R. 441, 116 A.L.R. 1299. There is considerable divergence in the opinions as to the reason upon which the rule rests. In our judgment the correct basis is this: An order in a divorce proceeding granting the custody of a minor child of the parties to one or the other determines a relative status; 2 Beale, Conflict of Laws, § 120.13; and a judgment having such a result is ordinarily within the constitutional provision that full faith and credit must be given in each state to the judicial proceedings of every other state. Const. U.S. Art. IV, § 1; Morrill v. Morrill, 83 Conn. 479, 492, 77 A. 1. That requires, however, that a state shall give to the judgment of the sister state only the force and effect to which it is entitled in the state where it was rendered. Haddock v. Haddock, 201 U.S. 562, 567, 26 S.Ct. 525, 50 L.Ed. 867, 5 Ann.Cas. 1. If the courts of that state have authority at their discretion to modify the decree at any time, even in the absence of a change in circumstances, the courts of another state have a like power. Sistare v. Sistare, 218 U.S. 1, 17, 30 S.Ct. 682, 54 L.Ed. 905, 28 L.R.A.,N.S., 1068, 20 Ann.Cas. 1061. If the courts of the state where the decree was rendered can modify it only upon proof that the circumstances have materially changed after the making of the order, the courts of another state can act upon such proof; Morrill v. Morrill, supra; but unless there has been such a material change of circumstances they must give effect to the decree. Ansorge v. Armour, 267 N.Y. 492, 498, 196 N.E. 546; Dixon v. Dixon, 76 N.J.Eq. 364, 366, 74 A. 995; Ex parte Peddicord, 269 Mich. 142, 144, 256 N.W. 833; State v. Black, 239 Ala. 644, 647, 196 So. 713; In re Leete, 205 Mo.App. 225, 239, 223 S.W. 962.

The power of the courts of New York to modify an order concerning the

40 A.2d 756

custody of the children of the parties made in a divorce action is found in § 1170 of the Civil Practice Act, 6 Gilbert-Bliss Civil Practice of New York, 1943 Sup., p. 101. That section provides that the court shall, in a decree for a divorce, give such directions as justice requires for the custody, care, education and maintenance of any children of the marriage, and where, the action is brought by the wife, for her support, and that the courts may, after final judgment, ‘annul, vary or modify such directions.’ As far as material to the issues before...

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33 cases
  • In re Joseph W., (AC 30476) (Conn. App. 6/8/2010), (AC 30476).
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • June 8, 2010
    ...have been equal . . . ." Dunham v. Dunham, 97 Conn. 440, 442, 117 A. 504 (1922),28 overruled in part on other grounds by Freund v. Burns, 131 Conn. 380, 385, 40 A.2d 754 (1944). Parents are joint guardians and have equal and independent rights to their custody. See Scott v. Furrow, 141 Conn......
  • v.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 5, 1948
    ...nor has there been any material change of circumstances relevant to the custody of the child since it was rendered. In Freund v. Burns, 131 Conn. 380, 383, 40 A.2d 754, decided in 1944, we had before us a habeas corpus action seeking the custody of minor children. The parents had been divor......
  • Helton v. Crawley, No. 47495
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 7, 1950
    ...Goodrich v. Goodrich, supra, 209 Iowa 666, 668, 228 N.W. 652; Frick v. Kaufman, 310 Ky. 829, 222 S.W.2d 185, 186; Freund v. Burns, 131 Conn. 380, 40 A.2d 754, 755; Sistare v. Sistare, 218 U.S. 1, 17, 30 S.Ct. 682, 54 L.Ed. 908, 28 LNS.,N.S., 1068, 20 Ann.Cas. 1061; Ansorge v. Armour, 267 N.......
  • Helton v. Crawley, No. 47495.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 7, 1950
    ...Goodrich v. Goodrich, supra, 209 Iowa 666, 668, 228 N.W. 652;Frick v. Kaufman, 310 Ky. 829, 222 S.W.2d 185, 186;Freund v. Burns, 131 Conn. 380, 40 A.2d 754, 755;Sistare v. Sistare, 218 U.S. 1, 17, 30 S.Ct. 682, 54 L.Ed. 908, 28 LNS.,N.S., 1068, 20 Ann.Cas. 1061;Ansorge v. Armour, 267 N.Y. 4......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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