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Blakeslee v. Blakeslee

October 1917

ROMAIN BLAKESLEE, RESPONDENT, V. LAURA E. BLAKESLEE, APPELLANT.


Appeal from Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County; Thomas F. Moran, Judge.

Sweeney & Morehouse, for Appellant.

Frank D. King, for Respondent.

By the Court, McCarran, C. J.:

This was an action for divorce. The complaint was based on two causes of action—extreme cruelty, and desertion.

[41 Nev. 235, Page 238]

The desertion constituting the basis of the second cause of action is alleged to have taken place in the city of Chicago, State of Illinois. It appears from the record that appellant and respondent had formerly lived together in the city of Chicago; that on or about May 1, 1914, respondent left that city and came west, later taking up his residence in the city of Reno, where he had resided for a period of about one year prior to the commencement of this action.

Appellant here bases her claim for reversal of the judgment of the trial court in which a divorce was decreed to respondent upon three contentions expressed in appellant's brief as follows:

“(1) That the judgment of the court is not sustained by the evidence in granting a decree for extreme cruelty, because the parties were never domiciled in Nevada, and no act of any kind ever occurred in Nevada, so that there was no extreme cruelty in Nevada, and the acts complained of all occurred in Illinois, and under the laws of Illinois offered and admitted in evidence there was no cause of action for divorce in the State of Illinois. There being no cause of action in Illinois and none in Nevada, the decree is wrong.

“(2) The evidence is insufficient to sustain the degree upon the ground of desertion either under the law of Nevada or Illinois, because the desertion, if any, had not continued two years in Illinois or one year in Nevada before the commencement of this action.

“(3) That the evidence fails to prove the second cause of action.”

The argument of counsel for appellant is interesting, but academic. It fails to take cognizance of the modern theory which the law has crystallized into a concrete form to give more stable, and, if possible, uniform, existence to the marriage relation.

Christianity struck a standard for monogamous marriages; the relationship thus established, whether recognized as sacramental or as contractual, has been the subject of thought by theologians, academicians, philosophers, and jurists.

[41 Nev. 235, Page 239]

Viewed either from the standpoint of the ecclesiastical domain, where it is primarily recognized as sacramental in nature, or from that of the civil or common law, where it takes the form of contract only, this relationship is regarded as the nucleus of modern civilization, being that around which groups the family, the basis of human existence. Thus courts and lawgivers have dealt with the question with a view to uniformity of rule and harmony of consideration.

Under our forms of government here in the United States, with the several jurisdictions legislating on the subject, it is not surprising that some confusion is manifest; but some cardinal points have been so well identified that the mariner on the sea of conflict may find the true course.

Appellant's contention as to the only question involved in this appeal finds some support in English jurisdictions. This is especially true in the earlier cases (Lolley's Case, 1812-13; McCarthy v. De Caix, 2 Russell & Mylne, 615), but it is interesting to note in a later case, heard and determined by the House of Lords on appeal from the Court of Sessions of Scotland (Warrender v. Warrender, 9 Bligh's New Rep. 89), the whole question is gone into at length, and there Lord Brougham, speaking for that august body, held to the effect that, although a marriage was solemnized in England and the parties domiciled there, and after separation the husband took up his residence in Scotland, and the wife resided in France, and the acts constituting the ...


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