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Etheridge v. Shaddock

706 S.W.2d 395 (1986)

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Etheridge v. Shaddock

Arkansas Supreme Court

706 S.W.2d 395 (1986)

Facts

In 1984, Eva Jean Etheridge (plaintiff) and Donald Ray Shaddock (defendant) divorced. Shaddock was granted custody of the children. Shaddock then married Anna Frank Delozier in Arkansas. Because Shaddock and Delozier were first cousins, their marriage was not valid under Arkansas law. When Shaddock and Delozier realized that their marriage was not valid, they obtained an annulment. Shaddock and Delozier then married in Texas, which allows marriage between cousins, and returned to Arkansas. After Shaddock had remarried Delozier, Etheridge petitioned the court for a modification of the divorce decree so that she could receive custody of the children. Etheridge argued that Shaddock’s incestuous marriage satisfied the change-of-conditions requirement to modify a divorce decree and that the incestuous marriage was grounds to grant her custody of the children. The chancellor court denied Etheridge’s petition on the ground that the incestuous marriage did not satisfy the change-of-conditions requirement to modify a divorce decree. The matter was then appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court. On appeal, the court considered whether a marriage between cousins, performed in a state permitting such a marriage, should be recognized as valid under Arkansas law.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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