Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Robert and Annette Wilkins were divorcing. They had been married a little over seven years, but Robert had been seeing Margaret Fuller for several months and this had been discovered. Margaret was the wife of James Fuller. James had wanted to reconcile but Margaret would not hear of it. On March 15, Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins appeared before the Honorable Judge Kimberly Sutton in Divorce Court. (The picture on the cover of this book is of Judge Sutton.)
This judge was known for her caution in matters involving divorce. She would always encourage reconciliation. On this date, Judge Sutton asked the couple if they were sure that a divorce was what Robert and Annette wanted. Both responded yes. Judge Sutton adjourned the case so that the couple could make one more attempt to reconcile. The next court date was determined to be April 15. Immediately following the adjournment, Margaret, who had been waiting the lobby of the courthouse met with Robert on the stairway outside the courthouse. Their purpose was to decide whether they should continue to meet surreptitiously. They decided that their love was so strong that they could not bear to live without seeing each other until Robert’s divorce became final. Robert and Margaret returned to their homes.
At their home Robert and Annette Wilkins decided that reconciling was not possible and that Robert should move out of their home immediately. Meanwhile, at the home of James and Margaret Fuller, a decision was made and agreed to that Margaret should find a home of her own. Robert Wilkins and Margaret Fuller, having suddenly found freedom from their spouses, rented a furnished apartment in downtown Simmonstown and started housekeeping in their own place. They decided they would be married as soon as their divorces became final.
When Robert moved out of his home, Annette Wilkins phoned Joseph Shelby with the news of her separation from Robert. She and Joseph had been meeting secretly for about a year, but had taken no action to separate from their spouses. Joseph and Beatrice Shelby had not been getting along very well for about a year. They were living in the same house, but sleeping in different bedrooms. With knowledge that their marriage was doomed; neither had felt unhappy enough to initiate a separation. Now, with the news that Annette had separated from her husband, Joseph felt this might be an appropriate time to ask Beatrice for a divorce. The latter was unwilling to grant his request, but said she might be in favor of it at a later time.
On April 15, when Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins returned to Divorce Court, Judge Sutton learned, for the first time, the new developments in the marital situations. She ordered a new session to be held on May 15 to meet, not only with Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins, but also with Mr. and Mrs. Shelby.
During the month that followed Joseph moved out of the home that he had been sharing with Beatrice, and, with Annette Wilkins, took up residence in an apartment in uptown Simmonstown. Beatrice, now free to date began seeing other men. She met a man at a law library to whom she became immediately infatuated. They began dating each other but the man would not disclose his last name to her because, he said, it would result in harm to another person. All he would tell her was that his name was Victor.
On May 15, Judge Sutton met with Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins, and Mr. and Mrs. Shelby. All parties indicated that their desires for divorce had not changed. Robert Wilkins and Margaret Fuller wanted to continue with their divorces so that each could marry another person. Mr. and Mrs. Shelby were adamant about their divorces for the same reason. Judge Sutton, feeling that all parties were being too hasty, decided to postpone any further actions with the parties at this time. Hoping for reconciliations, she set another date for a hearing on June 15. During the month that followed, Beatrice Shelby demanded that Victor tell her his last name. She was shocked to hear the answer.
“Victor” she said, “this whole thing has turned out to be a mess. Does this spoil any plans we might have had for marriage?”
“Not necessarily, Beatrice, Victor responded, I recently discovered that James Fowler has been seeing my wife. I think my wife is getting ready to ask me for a divorce. I would, of course, agree. I plan to have the serious discussion with her this evening to ask what her plans are.”
“Would you let me know what she says as soon as you can,” she asked?
“Yes, of course!”
The next day, at home, Beatrice, received a call from Victor. “I had that talk with my wife,” he said. “She agreed, that it was up to her to make a decision at the earliest possible time.”
“When do you think that will be?”
“She told me it would be very soon!”
On June 15, Judge Sutton, convened a new session for the parties in regard to their requests for divorces. Present were Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins, Mr. and Mrs. Shelby, Mr. and Mrs. Fuller, and Victor. “I have an announcement to make,” the judge said. “My husband and I have decided to divorce. I will soon become the wife of James Fuller, whom I recently met during the progress of the these proceedings. I am hereby recusing myself from this case since, to continue, would represent a conflict of interest.”
“Effective July 15, these litigations will be taken over by Judge Judith Denver of the Third Judicial Divorce Court of New York. During the month, I will be familiarizing her with the details of this case, and I don’t mind telling you, I’ll need diagrams to help in explaining it.”