The plaintiff filed suit against her husband for separation from bed and board on the ground of cruel treatment. The defendant husband set up a reconventional demand for a like decree on the ground of abandonment. From an adverse judgment on a rule for alimony, plaintiff wife appeals. The husband is appealing from the judgment of separation from bed and board.
Plaintiff's complaint is based on two separate acts of cruelty during the months of November and December, 1950. A repetition of these facts would serve no useful purpose, the learned trial judge having stated in his reasons for judgment that the proof submitted established the facts alleged with reasonable certainty and, that
The appeals raise two questions:
1. Should the doctrine of comparative rectitude have been applied, and
2. Did the fault on the part of the wife justify the refusal of alimony?
In 27 C.J.S., Divorce, § 67 Recrimination, pages 623, 624, we find:
The Louisiana rule is that while mutual, equal fault operates as a bar to relief being given to either litigant, the courts consider in each case the degree of guilt, and only where there is a finding of fact that the degree of guilt has been equal is the suit dismissed. The rule of comparative rectitude has been impliedly recognized. Each case, however, stands on its own particular set of facts.
In Snell v. Aucoin, 158 La. 767, 776, 104 So. 709, 712, we find:
We also subscribe to the theory of justification by acts of the other spouse of conduct complained of as cruel, Silva v. Miramon, 156 La. 360, 100 So. 528, where the husband's open and blatant courtship of another woman (whose spouse had divorced her, naming the husband as co-respondent) was held to be justification for the
During the pendency of the suit there was a consent judgment for alimony of $100 per month; and a short time later alimony was reduced to $75 per month.
Article 120 of the Revised Civil Code provides for the obligation of the husband during the marriage. He is obliged to receive the wife and to furnish her with whatever is required for the convenience of life in proportion to his means and condition.
"Article 148 of the [Revised] Civil Code declares that, in a suit for separation from bed and board, or for divorce, if the wife, whether she be plaintiff or defendant, has not a sufficient income for her maintenance during the pendency of the suit, the judge shall allow her a sum for her support, proportioned to her needs and to the means of her husband. That is the authority for the courts to allow alimony pendente lite in this state. The right of the wife to such alimony does not depend at all upon the merits of the suit for separation from bed and board, or for divorce, or upon the actual or prospective outcome of the suit. The reason for that is that an order to pay alimony pendente lite is merely an enforcement of the obligation of the husband to support his wife as long as the marriage remains undissolved. LeBeau v. Trudeau, 1 Mart., N.S., 93; Holbrook v. Holbrook, 32 La.Ann. 13; Suberville v. Adams, 46 La.Ann. 119, 14 So. 518; State ex rel. Huber v. King, Judge, 49 La.Ann. 1503, 22 So. 887; State ex rel. Hill v. Judge, 114 La. 44, 38 So. 14; Nissen v. Farquhar, 121 La. 642, 46 So. 679; Donnels v. Bouillion, 165 La. 145, 115 So. 439; Brouilette v. Mallet, 180 La. 787, 157 So. 594; Anzalone v. Anzalone, 182 La. 234, 161 So. 594; Arnold v. Arnold, 186 La. 323, 172 So. 172; Cotton v. Wright, 189 La. 686, 180 So. 487." Grisamore v. Grisamore, 191 La. 770. 773, 774, 186 So. 98.
A judgment requiring payment of alimony pendente lite is automatically terminated and is of no further force or effect after rendition of final divorce decree. Bienvenue v. Bienvenue, 186 La. 429, 172 So. 516.
For these reasons, the judgment of the district court decreeing a separation from bed and board is affirmed, and the judgment denying alimony pendente lite is reversed, annulled and set aside, and the judgment for alimony at the rate of $75 per month pendente lite is reinstated; the defendant to pay all costs of this appeal.