Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. A.F.
WELLS, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Defendant appeals from a decree that awarded plaintiff a divorce based upon mental cruelty, denied defendant a divorce based upon desertion and awarded custody of their six-year-old daughter to plaintiff. The decree also directed defendant to pay the sum of $40 per week to plaintiff for child support and provided that the court retain jurisdiction to hear evidence regarding alimony.
Defendant argues the following contentions:
(1) There is a total lack of evidence that defendant's conduct caused plaintiff's life or health to be endangered;
(2) Plaintiff condoned all of the acts complained of;
(3) Plaintiff's departure and her living separate and apart from defendant were unjustified and entitled defendant to a decree of divorce on the grounds of desertion;
(4) The court abused its discretion in awarding custody of their child to plaintiff; and
(5) Plaintiff failed to allege and prove lack of provocation.
Plaintiff's complaint alleged fifteen specific allegations of defendant's conduct toward plaintiff that allegedly caused her severe and extreme mental anguish. It was further alleged that as a result plaintiff suffered a severe breakdown that required her hospitalization and placed her in great fear for her mental and physical well-being.
Defendant answered and denied each specific allegation of misconduct toward plaintiff; that if the allegations were true, they were all condoned by plaintiff and are of themselves glaring evidence of the emotional instability and mental incapacity of plaintiff and not sufficient to establish a cause of action for mental cruelty.
The allegations and proof of defendant's misconduct, with the exception of a few instances, related to a period of time of approximately a year before the parties separated. The parties were married on May 11, 1961, after a 4-month courtship, and separated on August 30, 1967.
Plaintiff testified and also called upon next door neighbors, a family friend and two treating psychiatrists to testify in support of her allegations.
Defendant testified and denied each accusation of misconduct toward defendant and related general and specific instances of his devotion, affection and concern for plaintiff and his efforts to accommodate her personality. A salesman who frequented the parties' home and delicatessen testified that defendant always treated plaintiff with respect and decency and never cursed or abused her.
Plaintiff's evidence revealed that defendant criticized plaintiff in public and private regarding her housekeeping abilities, repeatedly boasted about his premarital relations, unfavorably compared plaintiff with these other women, struck her with a rolled up newspaper on the face and head, causing her great pain, and twisted her leg on another occasion, causing her great pain and anguish. The evidence further revealed that defendant called her "nuts," threatening to send her to the "nut house," advised others that plaintiff was "nuts," constantly cursed and swore at plaintiff, repeatedly telling her to return to Norway, constantly remained out late at night, possessed and publicly displayed pornographic pictures and magazines in her presence, ...