Sunday, December 8, 2013

Haymes v. Haymes case brief

Haymes v. Haymes case brief summary
646 N.Y.S.2d 315 (1996)

Plaintiff wife appealed a judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County (New York), which granted an oral motion by defendant husband for partial summary judgment dismissing wife's actual and constructive abandonment claims on grounds that the parties' failed six-week attempt at reconciliation barred wife from succeeding on her abandonment claims as a matter of law.

Wife filed an action for divorce on grounds including actual and constructive abandonment based on husband having left the marital home to live apart from her and having abstained from sexual relations with her for a year or more. Pending trial, the parties unsuccessfully attempted reconciliation for six weeks, during which they engaged in sexual intercourse. The trial court, therefore, barred wife's abandonment claims as a matter of law on husband's oral motion.

  • On appeal, the court found that the trial court impliedly resolved disputed questions of fact without taking testimony by dismissing the claims without affording wife an opportunity to establish her version of the marriage's disintegration or to prove that husband did not make a good-faith effort to reconcile. 
  • The court held that an estranged couple's attempt at reconciliation, even including brief and isolated resumption of sexual relations, after a matrimonial action was already commenced did not preclude an entry of judgment in favor of the spouse who originally had an otherwise valid claim for abandonment.
The court reversed the order of the trial court that granted the motion by husband for partial summary judgment dismissing wife's abandonment claims, reinstated those claims, and remanded for trial.

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