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Brown v. Brown

Supreme Court of Arizona

July 3, 1931

WILLIS S. BROWN, Appellant,
v.
KITTY BROWN, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Coconino. A. S. Gibbons, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. Thorwald Larson, Mr. Joseph M. Holub and Mr. Thomas A. Flynn, for Appellant.

Mr. Frank Harrison and Mr. Isaac Barth, for Appellee.

OPINION

[38 Ariz. 460] LOCKWOOD, J.

Kitty Brown, hereinafter called plaintiff, brought suit in the superior court of Coconino county against Willis S. Brown, hereinafter called defendant, praying for a divorce on the ground of cruel treatment and outrage. Defendant answered denying those allegations, and cross-complained, also asking for a divorce for the misconduct of plaintiff. The court made no findings of fact, but rendered a judgment, which reads in part as follows:

"This cause having been heretofore presented to the Court, the parties hereto being present in person and being represented by their respective counsel, and each of said parties having presented to the Court testimony and other evidence in support of their respective pleadings, and the matter being

Page 1008

submitted to the Court, and the Court being fully advised in the premises:

"It Is Hereby Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed,

"1. That the bonds of matrimony now and heretofore existing between Kitty Brown, Plaintiff in the above entitled cause, and Willis S. Brown, Defendant in the above entitled cause, be and they are hereby forever dissolved: . . ."

The balance of the judgment was devoted to an adjudication of property rights, alimony, and the custody of the children. After the usual motion for a new trial was overruled, defendant appealed from the judgment.

There are some fifteen assignments of error, which we shall consider on the legal propositions raised, and not seriatim. The first is that no valid decree of divorce was ever rendered in the case. This is based upon the theory that the judgment above set forth does not specify the grounds upon which it was rendered, or whether the decision is in favor of plaintiff [38 Ariz. 461] or defendant. It is urged by counsel for defendant that such a judgment is void on its face.

The general rule is that a judgment which does not show for and against whom it is entered will be void for uncertainty. Shriver et al. v. Superior Court, 48 Cal.App. 576, 192 P. 124; Ferrell v. Simmons, 63 W.Va. 45, 129 Am. St. Rep. 962, 59 S.E. 752; 15 R.C.L. 592.

The reason for the rule is obvious; ordinarily a judgment cannot be enforced unless it shows in whose favor it is, and against whom it is rendered. In a divorce case, however, when both parties ask for a divorce and it is granted, the fact that the judgment does not show on whose petition it was allowed does not affect its ...


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