Seagriff v. Seagriff

CourtNew York Domestic Relations Court
Writing for the CourtGEORGE A. TIMONE
Citation195 N.Y.S.2d 718,21 Misc.2d 604
PartiesLoretta SEAGRIFF, Petitioner, v. Alfred SEAGRIFF, Respondent.
Decision Date22 January 1960

Page 718

195 N.Y.S.2d 718
21 Misc.2d 604
Loretta SEAGRIFF, Petitioner,
v.
Alfred SEAGRIFF, Respondent.
Domestic Relations Court of City of New York, Family
Division, Central Trial Part.
Jan. 22, 1960.

Page 719

[21 Misc.2d 605] Charles H. Tenney, Corp. Counsel, New York City (Mathilda Miller Cuneo, Corp. Counsel, of counsel), for petitioner.

Abraham J. Brill, New York City, for respondent.

GEORGE A. TIMONE, Justice.

In this proceeding by the petitioner for an order of support, it is conceded there was no ceremonial marriage between the parties. The pivotal issue is whether there exists a valid common-law marriage.

The petitioner and one Burker were married in May 1920, and separated seven months later. In 1921 petitioner and respondent entered into an illicit relationship and lived together as man and wife from then until 1957. During all of this time they were residents of the City of New York and lived there continuously except for yearly summer so-journs in Massachusetts where the parties lived on the premises of respondent's employer.

An action for a divorce, in which Seagriff was named as co-respondent, was duly commenced by petitioner's husband in the Supreme Court, Bronx County, in 1927. This resulted in an uncontested divorce decree in 1928, although petitioner and respondent did not learn of this decree until 1932. At no time did the petitioner seek a modification of the decree to permit her remarriage as she might have done after the lapse of three years from the date of its entry. Furthermore, it is probable that such an application would have been denied in view of the requirement of 'satisfactory proof * * * that the conduct of the defendant since the dissolution of said marriage has been uniformly good' (Domestic Relations Law, Section 8).

Assuming without deciding that the parties hereto at some later time intended and actually attempted to create a common-law marriage relationship between them in New York State, they are met by insuperable obstacles. Prior to 1928, petitioner was legally married to another. After 1928 she was at all times forbidden to remarry by the divorce decree and any remarriage by her in New York State in violation of the decree would be void ab initio (Amsterdam v. Amsterdam, Sup., 56 N.Y.S.2d 19; Polizzi v. Polizzi, 13 Misc.2d 309, 177 N.Y.S.2d 935). In addition, by virtue of Chapter 606, Laws of 1933, in effect April 29, 1933, common-law marriages could not thereafter be established in this State.

The fact that they were known as husband...

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2 practice notes
  • Kelly v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 69 Civ. 3649.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • November 15, 1972
    ...the like. Gall v. Gall, 114 N.Y. 109, 21 N.E. 106 (1889); Iania v. Islip, 8 A. D.2d 897, 187 N.Y.S.2d 166 (1959); Seagriff v. Seagriff, 21 Misc.2d 604, 195 N.Y.S.2d 718 (1960); In re Heitman, 154 Misc. 838, 279 N.Y.S. 108, aff'd, 247 App.Div. 855, 288 N.Y.S. 876, aff'd, 272 N.Y. 533, 4 N.E.......
  • Tausik v. Tausik
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
    • April 4, 1960
    ...legal contemplation can become a most perplexing problem--a mixed question of law and fact. We ought not confide a multiplicity of these [21 Misc.2d 604] questions to the Municipal Court as a mere incident of their jurisdiction in summary proceedings--these proceedings were not designed for......
2 cases
  • Kelly v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 69 Civ. 3649.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • November 15, 1972
    ...the like. Gall v. Gall, 114 N.Y. 109, 21 N.E. 106 (1889); Iania v. Islip, 8 A. D.2d 897, 187 N.Y.S.2d 166 (1959); Seagriff v. Seagriff, 21 Misc.2d 604, 195 N.Y.S.2d 718 (1960); In re Heitman, 154 Misc. 838, 279 N.Y.S. 108, aff'd, 247 App.Div. 855, 288 N.Y.S. 876, aff'd, 272 N.Y. 533, 4 N.E.......
  • Tausik v. Tausik
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
    • April 4, 1960
    ...legal contemplation can become a most perplexing problem--a mixed question of law and fact. We ought not confide a multiplicity of these [21 Misc.2d 604] questions to the Municipal Court as a mere incident of their jurisdiction in summary proceedings--these proceedings were not designed for......

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