Glickman v. Collins
13 Cal.3d 852, 120 Cal.Rptr. 76, 533 P.2d 204 (1975)

  • Gerald and Claire were married. But Gerald then met Hilda. Gerald and Hilda went off together.
  • Gerald asked Claire for a divorce (this was before no-fault divorce was common). Claire said that she would only file for divorce if Gerald signed separation agreement, and Claire guaranteed the payments.
    • The separation agreement required Gerald to pay continuing spousal support payments to Claire, and stipulated that if Gerald didn’t pay, Claire could get the money from Hilda.
  • Everybody signed the separation agreement, and Claire filed for divorce. It was granted and everybody walked away happy.
    • Gerald then married Hilda.
  • A few years later, Hilda divorced Gerald. Gerald stopped sending his spousal support payments to Claire.
  • Claire sued Gerald and obtained a judgment against him, but he didn’t have any money, so Claire couldn’t collect.
  • Claire then sued Hilda as the guarantor of the separation agreement.
  • The Trial Court found for Claire and ordered Hilda to pay about $9k. She appealed.
    • Hilda argued that the separation agreement was void because it was against public policy because it was intended to get Claire to divorce Gerald.
    • “Public policy seeks to foster and protect marriage, to encourage parties to live together, and to prevent separation.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
  • The California Supreme Court affirmed.
    • The California Supreme Court found that Gerald and Claire’s marriage was ‘irreparably broken’ before the separation agreement.
      • Therefore the separation agreement was not contrary to public policy because the parties weren’t going to stay together anyway.
        • Basically Claire and Gerald didn’t get a divorce specifically because of Hilda’s inducement.
  • Hypothetically, if Gerald and Claire had a perfectly happy marriage and Hilda walked in and said, “I’ll give you a million dollars to get a divorce,” that would not be enforceable because it would be a contract discouraging marriage. But in this case, the marriage was over anyway.