When Homer decided to get married, he was determined marriage wasn’t going to be like a lottery where you tear up the ticket if you lose … and get a divorce … and move on to the next marriage.
Consequently, to insure the permanency of his marriage to Gertrude, before they got married, he had his starry-eyed bride sign a contract saying she would never divorce Homer.
Unfortunately, there is “many a slip twixt the cup and the lip,” and, as far as Gertrude was concerned, the marriage for her turned out to be a matter of trails and tribulations. While Homer had been a rich man, she quickly came to the conclusion he was a poor husband who made life miserable for her … and she sued him for divorce.
“She can’t do that,” Homer insisted in court. “We entered into a binding contract that she would never divorce me and a contract is a contract!”
“A contract is a mutual agreement between two people,” responded Gertrude. “In our case, it was for Homer’s benefit. Since an individual can not predict the future success or failure of a marriage, a contract intending to do that isn’t valid. If a person could predict the future course of a marriage,” she concluded, “he would be smart enough to rule the world.”
IF YOU WERE THE JUDGE …
Would you grant Gertrude a divorce?
THIS IS HOW THE JUDGE RULED …
The judge noted the granting of the divorce is strictly governed by law.
And, concluded the judge, a wife is entitled to a divorce … if her grounds warranted the granting of a divorce … regardless of whether or not she signed a contract that precluded her from seeking a divorce.
Based on a 1958 Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision.