Hughes v. Hughes
326 So. 2d 877 (2d. Cir. 1976)

Facts:

  • Mrs. Hughes wanted a divorce.
  • Mr. Hughes treated her coldly and indifferently, was habitually intemperate, and even kicked her out of the house on one occasion, threatening to hurt her.
  • He tried to argue that she left without cause, thus constituting abandonment.
  • Their daughter (college student at the time) was relied on to resolve any conflicting testimony. Her testimony backed her mother’s allegations.

History:
The trial court found that Mr. Hughes was guilty of cruel treatment.

Issue:
Whether the evidence was sufficient to find that Mr. Hughes was guilty of cruel treatment.

Holding:
Yes. Affirmed.

Reasoning:

  • Mr. Hughes cursed his wife on many occasions and declared that he did not love either his wife or his daughter.
  • The lower court found this conduct to constitute mental harassment sufficient to render the continued living together insupportable, and this court agreed.

Today, most courts consider psychological harm sufficient to grant a divorce for cruelty (or “indignities to the person”).

One time acts of violence: Some courts find this insufficient unless it’s horrendous.