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Frey v. Frey

Superior Court of Pennsylvania
821 A.2d 623 (2003)


Facts

After six years of marriage, James Frey (plaintiff) filed for divorce from his wife, Cheryl Frey (defendant). James claimed the two effectively separated when he filed, despite continuing to live together. He said he stayed only for his daughter’s benefit, because he built the house, and because he owned the lumber business next door. James also claimed they slept in separate rooms and stopped having sex. James went on family vacations and shopping trips, but ate most of his meals with his mother, (who laundered his shirts) and ate at home with only his daughter. Cheryl testified the couple had not actually separated at all, and continued having sex on a regular basis, until a meeting with divorce attorneys two years later when she realized they would not reconcile. Meanwhile, the couple occasionally had dinner out together, sought marriage counseling, and joined in school activities, holiday parties, and family vacations. James claimed Cheryl knew he did those things solely for his daughter’s benefit. Meanwhile, Cheryl cleaned the house and did James’s laundry (except his shirts). The trial court found the couple separated when James filed and granted the divorce. Cheryl appealed, arguing that the parties had not effectively separated until two years later, and that the marriage was not irretrievably broken.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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