Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,800+ case briefs...

Marriage of Dawley

Supreme Court of California
551 P.2d 323 (1976)


Two teachers, Betty Johnson (defendant) and James Dawley (plaintiff), had an intimate relationship for several years. Betty became pregnant. Because both teachers feared they would otherwise lose their teaching positions as a result of social disapproval, they decided to enter into a temporary marriage. Two days prior to the marriage, with full knowledge and consent, Betty and James signed an antenuptial agreement providing that the property owned by each of them at the time of marriage, and any subsequent earnings during the marriage, remained each person’s separate property and would not be subject to equitable distribution. The agreement further provided that James would support Betty and her daughter for 14 months after the end of their marriage and that James would provide reasonable monthly support until adulthood to any child born within the first 10 months after the end of their marriage. A second daughter, Lisa Dawley, was born a few months later. The 14-month period referenced in the agreement ended in 1965, but the parties did not separate until 1972. James Dawley petitioned for divorce. The trial court upheld the antenuptial agreement and found that there was no community property to distribute. As a result, Betty received alimony of $1 per month and child support of $300 per month for Lisa, and James received all property that was acquired through his income during the marriage. Betty appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Tobriner, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 449,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 449,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,800 briefs, keyed to 224 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial