Janet and Mark Sullivan married in September of 1967. Mark entered medical school the following year while Janet completed her undergraduate studies. For the next nine years of their ten year marriage, Mark attended medical school for four years, then completed his internship and his residency for five years. Janet provided support by working full time, and then part time when they moved to Oregon in 1972 for the benefit of Mark's career. She continued to work part time after their daughter was born in 1974. Janet and Mark separated in 1977 or 1978, then Mark set up his practice in Orange County, California, with money borrowed from his mother. Assets acquired during the marriage consisted of used furniture and two automobiles with payments outstanding. Mark, however, possessed his medical degree, and Janet's attempt to gain an interest in Mark's degree catapulted the Sullivan dissolution into the national spotlight. Courts in sister states awaited California's approach to what has become the most hotly contested issue in family law today.
Bruce H. Rhodes,
Half a Loaf is Better Than None: Sullivan Revisited, 15 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.