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Bennington v. Bennington

Court of Appeals of Ohio
381 N.E.2d 1355 (1978)


Facts

Mary Bennington (plaintiff) and Larry Bennington (defendant) married in 1946. In 1963, Mrs. Bennington suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed and permanently, completely disabled. The couple ceased having sex thereafter. In 1974, Mr. Bennington moved out of the house and into a travel van on the couple’s property. He moved to the van because Mrs. Bennington kept the house at a very high temperature and also kept the doors bolted at all times such that it took 15 to 20 minutes for her to let Mr. Bennington in when he arrived home from work. After moving to the van, Mr. Bennington continued to assist his wife and to perform household chores. In November 1976, Mr. Bennington left for Arizona without intending to return. He did return a month later, however. He went back to living in the van for three months then moved to an apartment. Mrs. Bennington sued her husband for alimony only, on the grounds of gross neglect of duty and abandonment. Mr. Bennington counterclaimed for divorce on grounds including gross neglect of duty, extreme cruelty, and living separate and apart for at least two years without cohabitation. The trial court granted a divorce on the grounds of separation without cohabitation, finding that the period during which Mr. Bennington lived in the van should count as part of the two years. Mrs. Bennington appealed.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (McCormac, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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