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Robbins v. Robbins

Filed: November 6, 1979.

E. T. ROBBINS, SR.
v.
HELEN C. ROBBINS



Appeal by plaintiff from Grady, Judge. Judgment awarding alimony pendente lite entered 16 November 1978 in District Court, Brunswick County. Judgment of absolute divorce entered 22 November 1978. Heard in the Court of Appeals 25 September 1979.

Hill, Judge. Judges Vaughn and Erwin concur.

Hill

Five questions are raised by the appellant in his brief. All arose out of the findings of fact or the conclusions reached by the court from such findings.

Appellant contends the court erred in concluding that the plaintiff had abandoned the defendant; that such a conclusion is not supported by the findings of fact by the court or the evidence.

Abandonment within the meaning of the statute occurs when one spouse brings cohabitation to an end without justification, without consent, and without any intent of renewing such cohabitation. Panhorst v. Panhorst, 277 N.C. 664, 178 S.E.2d 387 (1971).

The evidence indicates that the plaintiff had not entered the home of the defendant since 15 July 1976. Plaintiff contends that it is admitted by the defendant that he remained at the motel to assist in the operation of the institution; however, there is testimony that the plaintiff was able to travel extensively after the motel closed sometime after Labor Day, and he was also engaged in the sale of used cars and lightning rods. Plaintiff's unwillingness to visit an acknowledged sick wife, even for brief periods, indicates that he intended to abandon her.

The next four exceptions challenge the findings of the court that the defendant is a dependent spouse; the plaintiff's financial ability to pay; that the defendant did not have sufficient means to subsist during the prosecution of her counterclaim and the defense of her suit; and the granting of defendant's motion for alimony pendente lite without requisite findings of fact.

The four points are interrelated and will be answered as a class. We believe there is sufficient evidence in the record and sufficient findings of fact to support the conclusions of the trial judge.

In making findings of fact under the provisions of G.S. 50-16.3, it is not necessary that the trial judge make detailed findings as to each allegation and evidentiary fact presented. It is necessary that he find the ultimate facts sufficient to establish that the dependent spouse is entitled to an award of alimony pendente lite under the provisions therein.

The trial court must make findings of fact to show three requirements:

(1) the existence of a marital relationship;

(2) the spouse is (a) actually or substantially dependent upon the other spouse for maintenance and support, or (b) is substantially in need of ...


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