LOCATION:Florida State Hospital
DOCKET NO.: 73-1461
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: Utah Supreme Court
CITATION: 421 US 7 (1975)
ARGUED: Feb 19, 1975
DECIDED: Apr 15, 1975
Bryce E. Roe – for appellant
J. Dennis Frederick – for appellee
Media for Stanton v. Stanton
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 15, 1975 in Stanton v. Stanton
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in 73-1461, Stanton against Stanton will be announced by Mr. Justice Blackmun.
Harry A. Blackmun:
This case comes to us from the Supreme Court of the State of Utah.
The appellant and the appellee were married in 1951 and divorced in Utah in 1960.
They have a daughter and a son.
The Utah divorce decree incorporated a stipulation between the parties that the husband would make monthly payments to the wife for the support of each of the children.
When the daughter reached 18, the husband discontinued payments for her support.
The Utah divorce court denied wife’s motion for support for her daughter for the period after she attained age 18 and did so pursuant to a Utah statute providing that the period of minority for males extends to age 21 and for females only to age 18.
On appeal, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed and rejected the wife’s claim that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In an opinion filed today we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Utah and remand the case for further proceedings.
We hold that in the context of child support, the age classification made by the statute denies equal protection.
We find nothing rational in the statutory distinction between males and females which when related to the divorce decree results in the husband’s liability for support for the daughter only to age 18 but for the son to age 21.
I’m authorized to state that Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Blackmun.