Armstrong v. Armstrong


DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)

ARGUED: Nov 15, 1955
DECIDED: Apr 09, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for Armstrong v. Armstrong

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 15, 1955 (Part 2) in Armstrong v. Armstrong

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 15, 1955 (Part 1) in Armstrong v. Armstrong

Earl Warren:

Number 38, Raymond C. Armstrong versus Mary R. Armstrong.

Mr. Gorman.

Robert N. Gorman:

This matter is before the Court on certiorari -- certiorari from the Supreme Court of Ohio.

It involves questions of full faith and credit and due process of law in reference to a divorce actions in both Florida and Ohio.

Briefly, the question is this.

Armstrong, the petitioner was granted a divorce in Florida where both he and his wife had lived for 22 years, where they had a matrimonial domicile.

She had fled to Ohio.

The Florida Court denied her alimony.

Subsequently, after this decree was entered, she filed a suit in Ohio for divorce and alimony.

The Ohio court gave full faith and credit to the divorce, but awarded her alimony of 1250 shares of General Motors Stock approximately worth, today, $170,000.

Now, it is our contention, in this case, that where the matrimonial domicile, and the doctrine has not been entirely abandoned, even though it has been whittled away and where she was served under a statute in Florida, reasonably calculated to give her notice.

And that she actually did receive notice, and deliberately refused to appear in Florida.

We say that the Ohio court should have given entire full faith and credit to the entire decree, and not applied the doctrine of divisible divorce.

These facts supported and anything we had in (Inaudible) or in other case, because in those cases and all, the husband would go to another State and there obtained a divorce.

Then the wife would either -- they held the support order which survived or she'd come back later.

These facts are different.

Here, the husband remains in the matrimonial domicile and the wife flees to another State.

If such a doctrine is to be upheld, then it seems to me that forum-shopping is a premium.

That the husband could go.

Take for example here and we had an actual case on this (Inaudible)

He goes to Ohio and takes all his securities with him.

The wife cannot get any alimony because she can't get personal service.

We maintain that if that's the matrimonial domicile, the wife ought to their sufficient dominant interest in the matrimonial domicile and when where service is given that that ought to be recognized.

Now, this matter's never been before the Court.

You can go back to way 226 United States, in the Thompson case, and Justice Pitney in that case, which has never been overruled.

As a matter of fact, it was distinguished in the Estin case and if I would assume it's still the law, that it's going to be distinguished.

But we're not like right -- relying alone on the Thompson case.

There may be some modification in that rule.

Now, I think briefly with that, as to the question, I should give you the facts.

Armstrong, the petitioner and his wife were married in Cincinnati Ohio on June 18th, 1917.