Ruth Koch v. George Koch
FACTS: The parties were married on March 1, 1959. Plaintiff had a 15 year old daughter by a previous marriage. It was planned that she would live with them, as well as agreed upon that after marriage the defendant’s mother from Hungary would be moved in with them (September 11, 1964). Defendant testified that he would not have married plaintiff if his mother could not live with them. Within a very short time after the arrival of the mother-in-law, the incompatibility between her and the plaintiff caused a disintegration of the marriage. After a psychologist and counselor were called upon, the plaintiff gave the defendant an ultimatum of living with her or his mother and the defendant chose his mother. Plaintiff moved out with daughters on July 9, 1965. Both plaintiff and defendant said they would take the other back upon submission of the other’s stance. Plaintiff sued her husband for maintenance and support for herself and the infant child of their marriage. The Chancery Division entered judgment for defendant. Plaintiff appealed.
ISSUE: Whether or not plaintiff should be able to receive maintenance and support for herself and shared daughter of defendant after moving out based off of her agreement with defendant?
LAW: A contract made upon consideration of marriage is unenforceable. Such an agreement falls within the statue of frauds and writing is required to enforce the agreement.
RATIONALE: The evidence shows that the mother’s presence, and the effect thereof upon the plaintiff, constituted such a serious psychological interference with the wife that within a few weeks her happy marriage, in which could have otherwise held together, crumbled. There is nothing in the record to suggest that the plaintiff did not act in good faith nor should it be assumed that her acceptance of her mother-in-law and agreement with defendant should be carried out indefinitely. There was no more than planning and an expression of intent....
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