WINKELMAN v. WINKELMAN was a 1969 Michigan Court of
Appeals decision. Although this divorcing couple did not
have children, the memorialization of events and attitudes
found in this scenario are educational and informative for
those not thoroughly familiar with Jehovah's Witnesses.
Verner Winkelman and Helen Winkelman were married in
January, 1948, and separated in January 1966, when Helen
Winkelman moved to Florida, to live with her mother.
Parties were 58 and 59 years of age, respectively, and there
were no children of this marriage. In 1968, Verner
Winkelman sued Helen Winkelman for absolute divorce.
Divorce was granted, but Helen Winkelman appealed.
At trial, Verner Winkelman testified that after Helen
Winkelman joined the Jehovah's Witnesses, she became
unbearable to live with. There was excessive criticism and
accusations. Helen called Verner dumb and lazy, and she
repeatedly stated that she hated him - sometimes in front of
other people. In Fall 1965, Helen threw a sugar bowl at
Verner. Helen Winkelman's conduct and the false
accusations brought on Verner's ulcers and ill health. In
January 1966, she left the marital home in Michigan to live
with her mother in Florida.
Interestingly, at trial, Helen Winkelman denied all the
allegations, except for one occasion when she stated she
hated Verner in front of a third party, who testified to such.
In granting Verner Winkelman's petition, the trial court
stated: "After sizing up the parties, the plaintiff is a rather
subdued quiet type, and the defendant a forceful
aggressive personality; the court is inclined to hold that the
situation exceeds that of normal marital bickering, and that
the plaintiff had made out a case justifying a judgment for
The appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision,
stating: "We find nothing in the record which would allow
us to discount the plaintiff's credibility or the trial court's
Jehovah's Witnesses Lose in Court-Often....