In 1962, Mary D’ercole (plaintiff) and Alghier D’ercole (defendant), a married couple, bought a home for $20,000. In 1971, Alghier and Mary decided they could not live together anymore. Alghier refused to leave the home and Mary moved out. Thereafter, Alghier sought a divorce, but Mary wished only for a separation. Alghier refused to share the home in any way with Mary, declining to sell the house and divide the proceeds or pay Mary her share of equity. Mary filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, contending that the common-law notion of tenancy by the entirety unconstitutionally deprived her of due process and equal protection by granting her husband the right of possession and control in their home.