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O'Connor Brothers Abalone Co. v. Brando

California Court of Appeal
114 Cal. Rptr. 773 (1974)


Facts

Wife Movita Brando and husband Marlon Brando (defendant) entered into a settlement agreement in 1968 to resolve custody and financial issues following the annulment of their marriage. Per the agreement, Marlon paid $600 monthly child-support payments and $1,400 monthly payments to support Movita. The $1,400 payments were to continue until the earlier of 156 months or until Movita died or remarried. The agreement defined “remarriage” to include Movita “appearing to maintain a marital relationship with any person.” Marlon stopped the $1,400 monthly payments in 1971, alleging that Movita had entered into a relationship with James Ford in 1968 that qualified as a remarriage under the agreement. The trial evidence showed that Movita and Ford had a relationship of substantial duration that included frequent sexual intercourse. In addition, Ford kept his clothes at Movita’s residence, prepared and ate meals there, bought groceries on Movita’s account at the store, drove Movita’s cars, and was authorized to use Movita’s department store charge account. Ford also used Movita’s address as his own, and he and Movita were often in public together, including with her children. Movita and Ford were not married, and Movita did not hold herself out as being married to Ford. The trial court found that, although Movita lived with Ford, because she did not have a marriage ceremony or hold herself out as being married, she was not remarried and remained eligible under the agreement for the support payments. Marlon appealed, alleging that the relationship between Movita and Ford constituted a remarriage under the agreement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Compton, J.)

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