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This family law case was heard in July of 1920 before Justice Fuller of the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania at Luzerne, still one of the most beautiful courthouses in the world (image below).

But it was decided only a full year later.

Kibitzing Kmicz

Nobody knows what bug bit Justice Fuller but the best that can be taken from the odd reasons for judgment is that where instances of libel are equal as from husband as from wife, the Court will not allow a divorce order?! In any era, at any time, one really has to wonder the point of denying a divorce to this two quibbling spouses. Like reconciliation was possible ... not.

The most spectacular aspect is the shorthand form of the judgment, reproduced here exactly as it was published.

Libel in divorce by husband against wife.

Answer by wife.

Issue on cruel and barbarous treatment.

Trial by judge without jury.

She his second.

He her second.

Her dowry to him five ready-made children.

His contribution to her the same number.

None added since.

She, without a vestige of feminine loveliness.

He without a mark of masculine attraction.

From start to finish a perfectly inexplicable and hopeless connubial absurdity.

One averred ground of divorce, her cruel and barbarous treatment.

Another, indignities to his person.

Only proved specific instance of former his nose broken by her use of a stove lifter.

Only proved specific instance of latter her un-ladylike behavior in the privacy of nuptial privilege.

Nose possibly broken in self-defense as testified.

Unladylike behavior possibly incited by his own lack of good manners.

No course of bad treatment on one side more than on the other.

Blame balanced as six and half a dozen.

Mutually mean.

He mean enough to seek divorce.

She mean enough to resist.

Parties too much alike ever to have been joined in marriage.

Also too much alike to be separated by divorce.

Having made their own bed must lie down in it.

Lying out of it, no standing in court.

Decree (for divorce) refused with allowance to respondent of $25.00 for counsel fees to be paid by the libelant.


  • Kmicz v Kmicz, 1921 USFJDO 1, also at Luz. L. Reg. R. 330 and at 50 Pa.C.C. 588.