Flanagan v. Flanagan
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
956 A.2d 829 (Md. App. 2008)
Stephanie Flanagan (plaintiff) filed a petition for divorce from Wayne Flanagan (defendant) on the fault-based ground of constructive desertion after nearly 20 years of marriage. Wayne filed a counter-petition for divorce on the fault-based ground of actual desertion. Stephanie had moved out of the marital home due to Wayne’s excessive drinking, which made Wayne argumentative and belligerent, and Wayne’s persistent sexual contacts with other women over the Internet. At a hearing, Wayne testified that he was stunned after hearing that Stephanie was leaving him. Wayne denied drinking alcohol to excess but, at the same time, admitted to having an Internet-based encounter with another woman. The trial court awarded Stephanie a divorce on the no-fault ground of voluntary separation, despite the fact that neither party had advanced the ground in the petition or counter-petition. Wayne appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hollander, J.)
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