Anonymous v. Anonymous
236 N.Y.S.2d 288 (1962)

Facts:

  • H wanted a divorce because W was cheating on him.
  • As a defense, W argued that she was suffering from a mental condition and basically didn’t know what she was doing / couldn’t be held responsible.
  • Her psychiatrist testified that she was unstable and schizophrenic.
  • Conversely, H’s psychiatrist testified that she wasn’t schizophrenic, knew right from wrong, and was lying.
  • W never testified.

Issue:
Whether W demonstrated enough evidence that she was suffering from mental and emotional disorders to extent that she was not responsible for act charged against her.

Holding:
No. Judgment of divorce awarded.

Reasoning:

  • The burden of proving mental condition relieving defendant of responsibility is on defendant. Her sanity is presumed and the presumption must be overcome by a contrary showing.
  • Here, the burden wasn’t met:
    • Because the experts had conflicting opinions, W’s credibility became the central issue. However, because she never testified, the court was free to choose between the two experts.
    • Moreover, H hired an investigator to follow her, and knowing she was being followed, she still continued to have another affair. The court felt this could rationally be viewed as her no longer caring about the marriage.

Rule: Insanity, as a defense to a divorce action, must be proved by D by a preponderance of the evidence, overcoming a presumption of sanity.