Reid v. Reid case brief summary
375 S.E.2d 533 (1989)
Appellant husband challenged an order
of the Circuit Court of Albermarle County (Virginia), which adopted
the recommendations of the commissioner that the husband and appellee
wife be denied a divorce on fault grounds, that a no fault divorce
decree be entered, and that the husband be required to pay child and
spousal support, a monetary award, and the wife's costs and
CASE FACTS The parties were married for 19 years
and had four children. They experienced marital difficulties,
underwent unsuccessful counseling, and the wife moved from the
marital home. Two months later, the wife filed for divorce, claiming
constructive desertion. The wife identified four marital problems
that she alleged endangered her mental health and justified her
leaving: (1) sexual inactivity, (2) the husband's excessive work
habits, (3) the husband's failure to assist in the disciplining and
rearing of their children, and (4) a lack of "intimacy within
The lower court granted the parties a no fault
divorce and awarded the wife spousal support.
On appeal, the court
found that the wife was not justified in leaving the marriage.
court found that the husband's periodic impotency was not within his
sole control, that his time away from the family while working to
provide for them did not justify the wife's leaving, and that lack of
intimacy was a risk in all marriages.
The court held that because her
response to these problems was to terminate marital cohabitation and
to file for divorce, the wife legally deserted the marriage and
forfeited her right to spousal support.
The court reversed and remanded the circuit court's order, holding
that the circuit court erred in denying the husband a divorce on the
ground of the wife's desertion and in granting her spousal support.
The court vacated the award of attorney's fees and costs. Suggested law school course materials, hornbooks, and guides for Constitutional Law
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