Kreiner v. Kreiner


No. 9.

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Nov. 2, 1945.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Baltimore City; Joseph Sherbow, Judge.

Viola G. Kreiner has filed for divorce against Michael T. Kreiner, Sr. In response from the court dismissing the complaint, complainant appeals.


MARBURY, Chief Judge.


A wife filed for divorce after 34 years of marriage. The parties were living in the same house. The grounds alleged in the bill are cruel and inhuman conduct. The wife made claims of daily physical assaults and abuse, constant cursing of the wife, children and their friends, knocking the wife unconscious, trying to kill her, threatening her life, and the transmission to her of a serious and loathsome disease which her husband contracted from association with lewd women. It is also alleged that the husband is nearly always drunk, and constantly smashes and breaks the family furniture. Further, that because complainant cannot enjoy a normal and happy married life with the defendant, the parties have not co-habited for a long time prior to the filing of the bill of complaint. All of this the defendant denies.


‘In this case I am convinced from the evidence I have heard that there has been a complete deterioration in this household of the feeling, affection, and regard for each other that these parties ought to have after so many years of married life. However, it does not mount up to what the law calls cruelty or justification for constructive abandonment.

‘As I see the situation, Mr. Kreiner is a gruff, rough man, who has cursed and used the foulest sort of language to his family, and has helped to make it a very unpleasant household for his children. However, Mrs. Kreiner and the rest of the familiy to have at least held their own fairly well in the expressions of vulgarity until, I suppose, it would be fair to say that cursing in that household has been almost a normal occurrence. It is unfortunate. It is bad, but it does not mount up to cruelty, nor has any one specific event that has occurred in the recent past justified Mrs. Kreiner in taking the position that she was forced out of the bed room so that it would mount up to constructive abandonment.

‘All of the series of events narrated in court have taken place over many years. There has been a condonation of them again and again; both of them are to blame for the situation that has finally resulted; Mr. Kreiner being much more to blame by reason of his attitude towards his family and his unwillingness even to be reasonable about the every day affairs of life and household management.’

The record amply justifies these words of the Chancellor, and, in addition, he also had the advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses. We see no occasion to disturb his decree.

Past decisions have stated that, ‘It is not the function of the courts in such cases as this to arbitrate family quarrels, but to determine upon the evidence whether either of the parties has been guilty of such conduct as would make a continuance of the marital relation inconsistent with the health, self-respect, and reasonable comfort of the other.’

These words are peculiarly applicable to the case before us. The incidents related at much length in the testimony are either long since condoned, or are not sufficiently corroborated, or do not in themselves constitute either legal cruelty or justification for abandonment.

HOLDING: The decree will be affirmed. The learned Chancellor dismissed the bill of complaint, and, in giving his reasons, said in part:

Decree affirmed with costs to be paid by appellee.