Simonds v. Simonds, No. 17370

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtMOSS; Following the remand of this case to the lower Court for the purpose stated, the wife moved before Honorable G. Badger Baker; Baker; STUKES, C. J., and TAYLOR; OXNER; LEGGE; OXNER
Citation232 S.C. 185,101 S.E.2d 494
PartiesFrances R. SIMONDS, Respondent, v. John C. SIMONDS, Appellant.
Decision Date18 December 1957
Docket NumberNo. 17370

Page 494

101 S.E.2d 494
232 S.C. 185
Frances R. SIMONDS, Respondent,
v.
John C. SIMONDS, Appellant.
No. 17370.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Dec. 18, 1957.

Page 495

[232 S.C. 187] Buist & Buist, Thomas P. Bussey, Charleston, for appellant.

[232 S.C. 188] Stoney & Stoney, Sinkler, Gibbs & Simons, Charleston, for respondent.

MOSS, Justice.

The respondent, Frances R. Simonds, and the appellant, John C. Simonds, are husband and wife. They were married [232 S.C. 189] on November 12, 1930 in Charleston, South Carolina. Three children were born of the marriage, two of whom are now sui juris, and the third child is approximately nineteen years of age.

This action, which was instituted on December 7, 1953, was one for a divorce in the ground of habitual drunkenness. Section 20-101(4), Code of 1952. The respondent also asked for an award of the custody of the children to her, subject to reasonable rights of visitation in favor of the appellant; that she be awarded a lump sum alimony; that the appellant be required to make suitable provisions for the education, maintenance and support of the minor children; that the court fix proper compensation for her attorneys, and require the appellant to pay the same; and that she be awarded temporary alimony in the sum of $750 per month.

The appellant filed an answer to the complaint, asserting his earnest and sincere desire for a reconciliation between the parties, pursuant to Section 20-110 of the 1952 Code of Laws of South Carolina.

Page 496

The appellant specifically denied that he was an habitual drunkard. He asserts also that he has made substantial payments to the respondent for her support and maintenance, and in addition thereto, has expended substantial sums of money for the support of his children.

At the time of the institution of this action and the service of the summons and complaint, notice of motion for temporary alimony was made and later heard by the Circuit Judge at Charleston, S. C. He ordered the payment of temporary alimony to the respondent at the rate of $600 per month during the pendency of the action. Upon appeal to this Court, the judgment of the lower Court was modified and the case remanded to that Court for rehearing on the question of the proper amount of temporary alimony, because the record did not show as to whether the allowance was fixed in so large an amount because of a lack of knowledge[232 S.C. 190] that it would be federal income tax free to the respondent. Simonds v. Simonds, 225 S.C. 211, 81 S.E.2d 344. The record does not show that any Order was thereafter passed fixing and determining temporary alimony.

The case was referred to the Master of Charleston County, and after all the testimony had been taken, the respondent was allowed to amend her complaint by adding thereto, as an additional ground for divorce, that of constructive desertion.

The Master of Charleston County held seven references. The testimony was taken and various exhibits offered in evidence. On April 1, 1955, the Master filed his report, recommending that the respondent be granted an absolute divorce from the appellant on the grounds of habitual drunkenness and constructive desertion. He also recommended that the respondent be awarded a lump sum payment of $225,000 for her own maintenance and support; that the appellant be required to make suitable provision for the education, maintenance and support of the minor children of the marriage, and that he be required to pay the fees of the attorneys representing the respondent, in an amount to be subsequently reported to the Court.

The husband filed sixty-nine exceptions to the report, which exhaustively challenged the correctness of the Master's findings and the propriety of awarding lump sum alimony and the amount of it. The appeal from the Master's report was heard by Honorable James M. Brailsford, Jr., as Judge of an adjoining Circuit because the resident Judge of the Ninth Circuit had disqualified himself. He reversed the Master's findings as to the wife being entitled to a divorce on the grounds of habitual drunkenness and constructive desertion. He did not pass or refuse to pass upon the exceptions having to do with the recommendations made by the Master as to alimony and attorneys' fees. The trial Judge found that the husband and wife separated on December 17, 1952 and that from the time of the separation until the commencement of the action on December 7, 1953, [232 S.C. 191] that the husband had wholly abstained from the use of alcoholic beverages. Upon appeal to this Court, the conclusions of Judge Brailsford denying the wife a divorce on the ground of the husband's habitual drunkenness, was affirmed. We said:

'Based upon the authorities heretofore cited and referred to, in order that a divorce may be granted on the ground of habitual drunkenness, such must exist at or near the time of the filing of the action for a divorce. It being admitted that the respondent had totally abstained from the use of alcohol in any manner for approximately a year after the separation of the appellant and respondent, the condition of habitual drunkenness did not exist at or near the time of the filing of this action. The Trial Judge properly held that a divorce could not be granted on the ground of habitual drunkenness.'

This Court also affirmed the lower Court in denying the wife a divorce on the ground

Page 497

of constructive desertion. We said [229 S.C. 376, 93 S.E.2d 111]:

'Applying the principle announced in the case of Mincey v. Mincey [224 S.C. 520, 80 S.E.2d 123], supra, the appellant is not entitled to a divorce on the ground of constructive desertion because a year had not elapsed from the date of the desertion to the commencement of this action. Section 20-0101(2), 1952 Code of Laws of South Carolina.'

The wife asked this Court to reinstate the Master's report as to lump sum alimony and attorneys' fees. This request was refused because we were powerless to make a separate maintenance award or to allow attorneys' fees where such had not been awarded by the lower Court. However, we did hold that if the wife was entitled to such an award, that the same could be made, in this action, by the Common Pleas Court of Charleston County. We said:

'It is the opinion of this Court that the judgment of the Court below was correct and it is affirmed, but the case is remanded for the purpose of permitting the lower Court to [232 S.C. 192] pass upon whether or not the appellant is entitled to separate maintenance and attorney's fees. Upon this issue, we express no opinion.'

We have quoted from our opinion in Simonds v. Simonds, 229 S.C. 376, 93 S.E.2d 107, this being the report of the second appeal in this case.

Following the remand of this case to the lower Court for the purpose stated, the wife moved before Honorable G. Badger Baker, Judge of the Twelfth Circuit, for an Order, upon the record in this cause, including the testimony and exhibits, awarding her a lump sum for separate maintenance and attorneys' fees. Alternatively she moved, upon failure of the Court to award separate maintenance in a lump sum, that such be allowed in monthly installments. The motion as to attorneys' fees was supported by several affidavits as to the worth of the services rendered to the wife by her attorneys.

After the service of the motion by the respondent for an Order awarding her alimony and attorneys' fees, the appellant served a notice of motion to be allowed to file a supplemental answer in the cause. Judge Baker orally ruled, when the motion was heard, that he would allow the same to be filed, but stated that while at the moment he could see no need for taking additional testimony, he would permit counsel for the appellant to argue this question. The respondent filed a return to the proposed supplemental answer of the appellant. In support of her return she also filed an affidavit. The respondent contended that all questions should be determined on the record as it was completed prior to the filing of the Master's report. The appellant contended that the Court should either take additional testimony or that the cause be referred for the reason that the case was now, for the first time, a suit for separate support and maintenance as opposed to a divorce action, and that he was entitled to prove what he had been doing from the time of the separation to the date of the hearing by way of maintaining and supporting his wife and attempting a bona fide reconciliation. He also contended that the respondent had no evidence [232 S.C. 193] tending to prove in any manner that the support given her by her husband was inadequate, and that the first suggestion of any such inadequacy was contained in her affidavit submitted at the hearing, and that he should be given the right to cross examine her and to offer evidence of the adequacy of the support which he was furnishing for his wife. The appellant also contended that evidence should be received as to the then financial and tax status of both parties to the action, and that both parties should be allowed to offer witnesses and to cross examine witnesses as to the amount of counsel fees to which the wife was entitled to recover, if any, rather than

Page 498

deciding the issues on affidavits without any right of cross examination to either party.

It is conceded that the wife would not be entitled to recover counsel fees in the absence of obtaining affirmative relief in this action. The appellant alternatively moved for the taking of testimony by the Court or for an Order of Reference upon the issues made by the supplemental pleadings. It is agreed that the Court did not rule upon any of the motions on behalf of the appellant and gave no indication as to whether he would take testimony, or refer the cause, or receive and consider reply affidavits. It is further agreed in the statement of the case that the appellant, being unable to ascertain as to whether the Court would take...

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9 practice notes
  • Lewis v. Lewis, No. 26973.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 9, 2011
    ...by lower court when appellant satisfies the Court that the finding is against the preponderance of the evidence.”); Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 205, 101 S.E.2d 494, 504 (1957) (“This Court has the authority in appeals in equity to find the facts in accord with our own view of the prep......
  • State ex rel. Medlock v. Nest Egg Soc. Today, Inc., No. 0793
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 21, 1986
    ...3 See South Carolina National Bank v. Central Carolina Livestock Market, Inc., 345 S.E.2d 485 (S.C.1986); Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 101 S.E.2d 494 (1957); Latham v. Town of York, 210 S.C. 565, 43 S.E.2d 467 (1947); Union Savings Bank v. Hubbard, 138 S.C. 328, 136 S.E. 481 (1927). We......
  • Hoffman v. Greenville County, No. 18031
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 14, 1963
    ...Mutual Loan & Inv. Co., 218 S.C. 47, 61 S.E.2d 387; Ford v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 169 S.C. 41, 168 S.E. 143, and Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 101 S.E.2d 494. One who pleads an affirmative defense has the burden of proving it. McCabe v. Sloan, 184 S.C. 158, 191 S.E. Here, the resp......
  • South Carolina Nat. Bank v. Central Carolina Livestock Market, Inc., No. 22566
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 4, 1985
    ...application of the Act. We have previously condemned the use of affidavits to determine disputed issues of fact. See Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 101 S.E.2d 494 (1957); Latham v. Town of York, 210 S.C. 565, 43 S.E.2d 467 (1947); Union Savings Bank v. Hubbard, 138 S.C. 328, 136 S.E. 481......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Lewis v. Lewis, No. 26973.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 9, 2011
    ...by lower court when appellant satisfies the Court that the finding is against the preponderance of the evidence.”); Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 205, 101 S.E.2d 494, 504 (1957) (“This Court has the authority in appeals in equity to find the facts in accord with our own view of the prep......
  • State ex rel. Medlock v. Nest Egg Soc. Today, Inc., No. 0793
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 21, 1986
    ...3 See South Carolina National Bank v. Central Carolina Livestock Market, Inc., 345 S.E.2d 485 (S.C.1986); Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 101 S.E.2d 494 (1957); Latham v. Town of York, 210 S.C. 565, 43 S.E.2d 467 (1947); Union Savings Bank v. Hubbard, 138 S.C. 328, 136 S.E. 481 (1927). We......
  • Hoffman v. Greenville County, No. 18031
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 14, 1963
    ...Mutual Loan & Inv. Co., 218 S.C. 47, 61 S.E.2d 387; Ford v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 169 S.C. 41, 168 S.E. 143, and Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 101 S.E.2d 494. One who pleads an affirmative defense has the burden of proving it. McCabe v. Sloan, 184 S.C. 158, 191 S.E. Here, the resp......
  • South Carolina Nat. Bank v. Central Carolina Livestock Market, Inc., No. 22566
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 4, 1985
    ...application of the Act. We have previously condemned the use of affidavits to determine disputed issues of fact. See Simonds v. Simonds, 232 S.C. 185, 101 S.E.2d 494 (1957); Latham v. Town of York, 210 S.C. 565, 43 S.E.2d 467 (1947); Union Savings Bank v. Hubbard, 138 S.C. 328, 136 S.E. 481......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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