Hoagland v. Hoagland

Decision Date13 December 1920
Docket Number1006
Citation27 Wyo. 178,193 P. 843
CourtWyoming Supreme Court

ERROR to the District Court, Laramie County, HON. WILLIAM C MENTZER, Judge.

Action by John L. Hoagland against Mary Hoagland, for divorce. It appearing that defendant had remarried in another state within one year after securing a divorce in this state, the petition for divorce was denied, and plaintiff brings error.

Reversed and remanded with directions.

William B. Ross, for Plaintiff in Error.

The statute, Sec. 3531 C. S. 1910 prohibits remarriage within one year after decree of divorce fixing a penalty of fine and imprisonment for a violation of the law; it does not invalidate such a marriage if made. The plaintiff was not bound by the divorce decree; statutes restricting the right of remarriage after divorce for a specified time are without extra territorial force (14 Cyc. 729; Dudley v Dudley, 32 L. R. A. N. S. 1170; Van Storch v Giffen, 71 Pa. St. 240). The case of Van Vorrhiz v. Brintnal, 86 N.Y. 22 is a well considered case, directly in point and sustains our contentions. (See Re Crane 170 Mich. 651; Thorp v. Thorp, 9 N.Y. 602; Roberts v. Ogdenburg Bo., 41 Sp. Ct. 324). The validity of a marriage is determined by the law of the place where it was contracted and if valid there will generally be held valid in any state or country in which the parties may subsequently reside, although it would have been invalid by the law of such subsequent domicile if contracted there. (26 Cyc. 829).

No appearance for defendant in error.




From a judgment of the district court of Laramie county denying the petition of plaintiff in error in an action for divorce, on the ground of desertion, brought by him against the defendant in error, he brings the case here by proceedings in error.

The defendant below filed her answer, and the trial was had to the court resulting as above stated. The evidence in the case has not been brought up, and the only question here is, do the findings of facts as made by the court support the judgment? The court found that both parties were and for at least six years last past had been actual residents of the State of Wyoming. "That on the 17th day of March, A. D. 1915, at the town of Kimball, in the State of Nebraska, the said plaintiff and the defendant went through an alleged ceremony, which was in form the marriage ceremony provided by the laws of the State of Nebraska." "That at the time the plaintiff and defendant pretended to be married at Kimball, Nebraska, the defendant had been divorced from her former husband for a period of only about six months; That said defendant had obtained her divorce from her former husband in the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District of Wyoming within the period of six months prior to the date of said alleged marriage in the State of Nebraska.

"That said plaintiff and defendant went to the State of Nebraska to be married in order to avoid the laws of the State of Wyoming which prohibit divorced persons from remarrying to any one other than the former husband or wife within the period of one year after the date of divorce.

"That the defendant did in the year 1915 willfully desert the plaintiff for a period of one year, to-wit: from and since the year 1915 up to and including the present time, and that said desertion was without cause or justification.

"That the petition in said case is not founded in or exhibited by collusion between plaintiff and defendant, nor has the plaintiff at any time been guilty of the misconduct charged by him against the said defendant."

The court thereupon rendered judgment as follows: "It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that the said petition for divorce be denied." Dated February 16, 1920.

The court having found all of the facts necessary to entitle plaintiff to a divorce from defendant if the marriage in Nebraska was a valid marriage and is to be so regarded in this state, the question of the validity of that marriage is the only one in the case. The provisions of the statutes of this state on the subject are contained in Sections 3907 and 3951, Comp. St. 1910, as follows:

Sec. 3907. "All marriage contracts without this state, which would be valid by the laws of the country in which the same were contracted, shall be valid in all courts and places in this state."

Sec. 3951. "During the period of one year from the granting of a decree of divorce, neither party thereto shall be permitted to remarry to any other person. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined in any sum not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding three months, in the discretion of the court."

Section 3907, is simply declaratory of the rule of the common law the general rule being that a marriage valid in the state or country where contracted is valid everywhere. To that rule there are certain recognized exceptions, namely; marriages which are deemed contrary to the law of nature as generally recognized in Christian countries, such as polygamous and incestuous marriages, and those which the legislature of the state has declared shall not be allowed any validity, because contrary to the policy of its laws. It is to be observed that our statute does not declare marriages in violation thereof to be invalid, as do the statutes of several of the states, but simply prescribes a penalty which may be inflicted upon those who violate it. It is also to be observed that the statute applies to both parties and prescribes the same penalty for the innocent as well as for the guilty party. The rule as stated in 5 R. C. L. 1004, and which is supported by the weight of authority, and with a few exceptions which will be referred to later, is: "It is almost universally conceded that statutes prohibiting the guilty party to a judgment of divorce from marrying again, either for a certain period, or while the other party to the former marriage lives, are without effect outside the territorial limits of the prohibiting state. Since such a prohibition is in the nature of a penalty it does not apply to divorces granted outside of the state, nor does it carry any disability beyond the borders of the state where in force." In Commonwealth v. Lane, 113 Mass. 458, 18 Am. Rep. 509, it was held that a marriage which was prohibited by the statutes of that state, because contrary to the policy of its laws, was valid if celebrated elsewhere according to the laws of the place, even if the parties were citizens and residents of Massachusetts, and had gone abroad for the purpose of evading the laws of Massachusetts, unless the legislature had already enacted that such marriages out of the state should have no validity in Massachusetts. The court saying: "This has been repeatedly affirmed by well considered decisions." And in Van Voorhis v. Brintnall, et al.,...

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6 cases
  • Jim's Water Service v. Eayrs
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • March 6, 1979
    ...we must look to Montana as all marriages which are valid by the laws of that state are to be valid in Wyoming. Hoagland v. Hoagland, 27 Wyo. 178, 193 P. 843 (1920). If James and Judith were found to be validly married under the common law, she would therefore be entitled to benefits under o......
  • Smith v. Goldsmith
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1931
    ... ... Rep. 936; Stevenson v. Gray, 17 B ... Mon. (Ky.) 193; Dudley v. Dudley, 151 Iowa, 142, 130 ... N.W. 785, 32 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1170; Hoagland v ... Hoagland, 27 Wyo. 178, 193 P. 843, 32 A. L. R. 1104; ... note to Atkeson v. Woodmen of the World, 32 A. L. R ... beginning on page ... ...
  • Heflinger v. Heflinger
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1923
    ...Mass. 560, 51 N. E. 174; Grtswold v. Griswold, 23 Colo. App. 365, 129 Pac. 560; Stevenson v. Gray, 17 B. Mon. (Ky.) 193; Hoagland v. Hoagland, 27 Wyo. 178, 193 Pac. 843; Hooper v. Hooper, 67 Or. 191, 135 Pac. 205, 525; Conn v. Conn, 2 Kan. App. 419, 42 Pac. 1006; Wil-hite v. Wilhite, 41 Kan......
  • Christiansen v. Christiansen
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • June 6, 2011
    ...declaratory of the rule at common law....” Bowers v. Wyoming State Treasurer, 593 P.2d 182, 184 (Wyo.1979) (citing Hoagland v. Hoagland, 27 Wyo. 178, 193 P. 843 (1920)). Under common law, this rule of validation, otherwise known as the rule of lex loci celebrationis,2 is subject to “certain......
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