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Wirth v. Wirth

Supreme Court of New York
38 A.D.2d 611 (1971)


Facts

Mrs. Wirth (plaintiff) and Mr. Wirth (defendant) were married for several decades before Mrs. Wirth obtained a divorce in 1970. During the marriage, Mr. Wirth initially gave his income to Mrs. Wirth, who combined his income with her own, and from their pooled resources, Mrs. Wirth managed all of their bills and savings. In 1956, Mr. Wirth told Mrs. Wirth that he was starting a savings program for the two of them. Mr. Wirth separately invested most of his income into the savings program in his own name, with Mrs. Wirth’s knowledge. The household expenses were paid by all of Mrs. Wirth’s income and rental income and a portion of Mr. Wirth’s income. In filing for divorce, Mrs. Wirth claimed half of Mr. Wirth’s savings as community property. Mrs. Wirth claimed that she was entitled to a constructive trust on one-half of Mr. Wirth’s savings, as Mr. Wirth was only able to save because Mrs. Wirth’s income was used for family expenses, which were Mr. Wirth’s legal obligation. The trial court held that the savings from Mr. Wirth’s income were his assets and that Mr. Wirth had neither an agreement nor a legal obligation to transfer any of those savings to Mrs. Wirth. Mrs. Wirth appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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