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Garrett v. Garrett

May 31, 1973

GARRETT, APPELLANT,
v.
GARRETT, RESPONDENT



Appeal from Circuit Court, Marion County. Joseph B. Felton, Judge.

Norman F. Webb, Salem, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the brief was John P. Youngers, Salem.

No appearance for respondent.

Schwab, Chief Judge, and Langtry and Thornton, Judges.

Schwab

The plaintiff, James Garrett, appeals from that portion of a decree of divorce awarding his former spouse, the party adjudged at fault, $100 per month alimony.*fn1 The Garretts were married in 1959. At the time of the decree in October of 1972, they had no property of any consequence. James Garrett was earning something under $10,000 per year as a carpenter. The custody of the only child of the parties, a daughter aged 12, was awarded to the father. Mrs. Garrett did not appear at the hearing except through counsel. She had a long history of mental problems predating the marriage, but the evidence indicates that she was

never declared incompetent, and that she was institutionalized only once for a period of approximately four and one-half months. Pursuant to stipulation, a psychiatrist's report was introduced into evidence. It stated:

"I am writing to you concerning Vola Garrett at the request of Mr. Norman Webb, her husband's attorney, and with the consent of her attorney, Mr. Bruce Williams. Mrs. Garrett was a patient at Oregon State Hospital from August 10, 1971, to December 31, 1971 because of an exacerbation of a mental illness which had been present since her mid teens. She has a chronic undifferentiated schizophrenic reaction which is manifested by disorganization of her thought patterns, loss of motivation, depression and a lack of self confidence.

"Gradually with tranquilizers and a supportive milieu Mrs. Garrett regained her ability to organize her ideas and to cope with the routines of daily life. At the time of leaving the hospital she was employed as a clerk at a dress store in town and apparently her performance was adequate. I considered her improved and competent at the time she left the hospital but her long term prognosis is rather poor considering the length and severity of her illness. I feel certain the stress of marriage and maternal demands were taxing to her and the relief from this responsibility may be beneficial to the relief of her symptoms. I do believe that Mrs. Garrett is a concerned mother and should be allowed visitation rights with her child.

"As of this date I have not seen Mrs. Garrett since she left the hospital so my evaluation of her is based on observations made entirely during the course of her hospitalization."

The judge in his decree which, among other things, ordered Mr. Garrett to pay $100 per month alimony to Mrs. Garrett stated:

"* * * [D]efendant has a history of mental


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