Virginia Richmond City Divorce Decree Adultery Lawyers Attorney

by

Atchuthan Sriskandarajah

WILMOT THEODORA TARR, JR. v. BESSIE SARAH TARR

Supreme Court of Virginia

October 8, 1945

Facts:

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The wife filed a bill seeking to set aside and vacate the divorce decree entered on the ground of her adultery. The wife alleged that she had not contested the divorce suit because the husband led her to believe that the suit would be withdrawn and also alleged that she had sexual intercourse with the husband during the pendency of the suit. The trial court entered a decree setting aside and vacating the divorce decree and also awarding support and maintenance for the wife and child. Respondent husband sought review of a decree from the Law and Equity Court of the City of Richmond (Virginia), which set aside and vacated the decree of divorce, declared that complainant wife was the husband’s lawful wife, and declared that the child was the legitimate offspring of that union. The wife cross-appealed as to the amount of the trial court’s award for support and maintenance.

Issue:

Whether, in obtaining his decree for divorce, the husband perpetrated a fraud upon the court and upon his wife?

Discussion:

This court found that the husband had led the wife into a position of false security and concealed their true relations from the trial court and the court affirmed the trial court’s decree. This court held that before Tarr was free to contract a second marriage, he, due to his breach of the moral code, was confronted by the demands of two women, each of whom, to his knowledge, was with

child

by him. As soon as the legal restrictions were removed, he elected to marry the second woman. This change in his status was occasioned by his own acts and by his own incontinence. It was not caused by the delay in bringing this suit. This court determined that the wife had an absolute defense to the divorce proceedings. This court found that the wife had reasonable grounds to believe that it was unnecessary for her to appear and make defense. This court rejected the husband’s claim that the wife was guilty of laches in bringing the suit. This court found that the husband’s second wife and child were not necessary parties. This court also found no reversible error with respect to the support and maintenance award.

Conclusion:

This court hence affirmed the trial court’s decree, which set aside and vacated the decree of divorce, declared that the wife was the husband’s lawful wife, declared that the child was the legitimate offspring of that union, and awarded support and maintenance. This court amended the trial court’s decree to include the additional compensation allowed the wife’s counsel. This court remanded the case for such further proceedings as were authorized by law.

Disclaimer:These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm s unofficial views of the Justices opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content

Atchuthan Sriskandarajah is a Virginia lawyer and owner of the

SRIS Law Group

. The SRIS Law Group has offices in

Virginia

, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina & California. The firm handles criminal/traffic defense, family law & immigration

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