Aedita Fisher (plaintiff) and Harry Fisher (defendant) were married on the Atlantic Ocean by the captain of the steamship Leviathan after the steamship left the port of New York bound for England. Afterward, the Fishers lived as husband and wife for several years until Aedita filed suit against Harry, seeking a divorce. Harry denied that a valid marriage existed. In the decree dissolving the marriage between Harry and his first wife on the basis of his adultery, a clause forbade Harry from remarrying during the ex-wife’s lifetime. At the time of his marriage to Aedita, Harry’s first ex-wife was still alive. The appellate division held that the marriage was valid. Harry appealed. The New York Court of Appeals granted certiorari to review.