Atherton v. Atherton

In Atherton v. Atherton, 181 U.S. 155 (1901), a divorce was granted, on the ground of desertion, to a husband in Kentucky against a wife who had established herself in New York. She did not appear in the suit and the only notice to her was by mail. Before the decree was made she sued in New York for a divorce from bed and board, but pending the latter proceedings the Kentucky suit was brought to its end. The husband appeared in New York and set up the Kentucky decree. The New York court found that the wife left her husband because of his cruel and abusive treatment, without fault on her part, held that the Kentucky decree was no bar and granted the wife her divorce from bed and board. The New York decree, after being affirmed by the Court of Appeals, was reversed by this court on the ground that it did not give to the Kentucky decree the faith and credit which it had by law in Kentucky. Of course, if the wife left her husband because of his cruelty and without fault on her part, as found by the New York court, she was not guilty of desertion. Yet the Supreme Court held that the question of her desertion was not open but was conclusively settled by the Kentucky decree.