Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Carabetta v. Carabetta case brief

Carabetta v. Carabetta case brief summary
438 A.2d 109 (Conn. 1980)

SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff wife appealed the judgment of the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven (Connecticut), which granted defendant husband's motion to dismiss the wife's action for a dissolution of marriage. The trial court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because the marriage was allegedly void.

-A husband and wife were duly married in a church, but they did not obtain a marriage license. Thereafter, the couple lived together and raised four children together.
-When the wife filed for a divorce, the husband contended that they were not legally married, even though he had never before disputed the legitimacy of the marriage.

The court held that the trial court erred when it found that there was not a legal marriage and that it had no jurisdiction.

The court found that (1) a marriage duly solemnized but deficient for want of a marriage license was not void for lack of a marriage license, but was voidable; (2) the policy of the law was strongly opposed to regarding an attempted marriage entered into in good faith, believed by one or both of the parties to be legal, and followed by cohabitation to be void; (3) in the absence of express language in the governing statute declaring a marriage void for failure to observe a statutory requirement, such a marriage, though imperfect, was dissoluble rather than void; and (4) the Connecticut Legislature's failure expressly to characterize as void a marriage properly celebrated without a license meant that such a marriage was not invalid.

OUTCOME: The court set aside the trial court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings.

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