Some homecomings from the World War I were not joyous at all. This, from the Auckland Star, 19 December 1919.
A decree nisi in divorce was granted at the Supreme Court this morning by Mr. Justice Hosking to Samuel Albert Cousins (Mr. Hall Skelton) upon his petition against Grace Ethel Cousins. The parties were married in 1903, and have three children. The petitioner said that he enlisted early in 1916, leaving his wife in a fruit business (shop and dwelling). While in camp and overseas he received only three letters from her. All of them were very cold in tone, or, as he described them, "heartrending."
When he landed at Auckland last March his two boys met him on the wharf, and told him that their mother had sold up the shop and home, and was living in a boardinghouse. He went to see her. She told him that she would have nothing to do with him -- that she had "seen life" while he was away, and now knew what real life was.
She admitted to him that she had squandered the money which she had obtained by selling the4 shop and home, also the money she had received from him. He got her to sign a deed of separation, and on obtaining some information about her conduct with another man (since dead) he took divorce proceedings.
Mr. J. Osburne-Lilly, solicitor, who had entered an "appearance" on behalf of Mrs. Cousins, gave evidence that in conversation with him she had admitted misconducting herself with the man referred to.
The petitioner was given interim custody of two of his children.