Encyclopedia Titanica


New York Times

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On Final Judgment Court Does Away with Secrecy by Order to Dutchess County Clerk
Report That Mrs. Astor Receives Only $50,000 a Year Not Contradicted
The terms of the final decree of divorce which Justice Mills, in the Supreme Court at White Plains, granted yesterday morning to Mrs. Alva Willing Astor from her husband, Col. John Jacob Astor, provide, as expected, that she is to have the custody of their daughter, Alice Muriel, while Col. Astor retains charge of their son, Vincent. The decree is in the usual form. It contains no mention of alimony, and the understanding is that Mrs. Astor and her husband have reached an agreement on this point. Her allowance has been put by her friends at $50,000 a year. No statement in contradiction of this was obtainable yesterday from Col. Astor's side.

The courtroom was crowded with spectators as many thought that Mrs. Astor might be there, not knowing that she is now in Europe.

Lawyer Hugh Bayne of the firm of Strong & Cadwalader, moved for the confirmation of the interlocutory decree which Judge Mills granted to Mrs. Astor at New City, in Rockland County, on Nov. 8 last. Mr. Bayne told the court that he had an affidavit from a clerk in the office of Strong & Cadwalader and the Clerk of Dutchess County that an interlocutory decree had been granted on Nov. 8 and filed in the Dutchess County Clerk's office in November. He went on to say that the necessary three months which must elapse before a final judgment can be granted expired on Feb. 10, 1910, and that the thirty days extra allowed by statute thereafter, within which the final decree must be applied for, will not be up until March 12. He then moved for a final decree, and said that a notice of the motion, together with a copy of the form of the order, had been served on the defendant's attorneys.

Lewis Cass Ledyard representing Col. Astor, arose and said: “The proposed form of final decree conforms with the provisions of the final judgment." The papers were then handed up to Justice Mills, who looked them over leisurely while the lawyers and spectators waited.

When Justice Mills affixed his signature and gave the final decree to Mr. Bayne, who placed it in his inside pocket. [Sic.] He would not make its contents public, but said that it could be seen when he filed it in the Dutchess County Clerk's office at Poughkeepsie.

"I expect to start for Poughkeepsle immediately,” he explained.

There was a surprise for the lawyers when they examined the judgment, for Justice Mills had evidently determined that there should be no secrecy about the Astor matter any longer. He indorsed on the paper these words:

"The Clerk of Dutchess County 1a hereby ordered not to seal the above final judgment.

"[Signed] I. N. MILLS, J. S. C."

Lawyer Bayne was asked if the decree contained any monetary stipulation. All he would say was:

"I don't want to talk about the case."

Lawyer Ledyard was equally secretive.

The judgment, among other things, provides that Mrs. Astor shall resume her maiden name and that she can remarry. Col. Astor cannot marry again as long as his wife lives.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) UNSEALED DECREE IN ASTOR DIVORCE (New York Times, Saturday 5th March 1910, ref: #3061, published 23 June 2004, generated 1st December 2022 06:12:10 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/unsealed-decree-astor-divorce.html