William K. Ravetz, Philadelphia, for appellant.
William T. Connor, Hardie Scott, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 52]
This is an action for divorce a mensa et thoro brought by the wife for malicious abandonment. Subsequent to the filing of her libel appellant husband instituted an action for an absolute divorce on the ground of indignities. The cases were heard together. The master recommended the husband's action be dismissed; that a divorce a.m.e.t. be granted the wife; and that she be awarded alimony in the sum of $15 a week. Appellant's exceptions to the master's report were dismissed by the
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 53]
court below which approved and adopted the master's findings and conclusions. The husband appealed from the decree a.m.e.t. and allowance of alimony. He did not appeal from the dismissal of his libel.
The parties were married in 1928 and lived together until May 6, 1945 when he left the home. They have one daughter 19 years of age who resides with her mother. According to appellant's testimony his wife's conduct compelled him to leave the marital domicile. He testified 'there was never a day when my life wasn't in turmoil.' He complained that indignities commenced the day they were married. When he attempted to kiss her at the alter of the church she pulled away from him. He charged that she refused to have sexual relations with him during the first three months of their married life; ridiculed his lack of education; taunted him about her ex-boy friends; attended social functions several nights a week while he acted as baby sitter; accused him of infidelity; compelled him to sleep in a different room because she said he 'wasn't fit to sleep with her any longer'; threw a loaf of bread in his face because he asked for catsup; terrified him by holding a long bladed butcher knife over him causing one side of his facial nerves to collapse; jabbed him with an umbrella while following him down street; pushed the newspaper in his face when he was reading; threw water on him while he was in bed; placed salt, knives, forks and spoons in his bed; and constantly nagged and embarrassed him in public.
Appellee testified the parties had no serious difficulties during their 17 years of married life, except for arguments over financial matters, until she learned her husband was interested in another woman. She stated that he gave her $15 a week to clothe and feed the family although he was earning over $65. Immediately prior to their separation she complained to the Municipal Court
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 54]
that he was not giving her sufficient funds to meet her household expenses and pay doctor bills. Appellant contends he was so humiliated he moved out of the house the following weekend. Nevertheless during the previous month he had repeatedly told her that he couldn't stand it and was going to get out.
The wife's real complaint was that her husband had lost all affection for her and was interested in a female hairdresser. She suspected 'there was someone else' as early as 1942. Two years later she began to follow him to the hairdressing establishment and on numerous occasions observed the two leave in his car. When she asked where he had been his reply was 'playing cards with the boys.' Appellant denied he knew 'the other woman' prior to the separation. Appellee's sister testified she saw appellant with her during the winter of 1947. The daughter was uncertain whether she had seen her father with the hairdresser before or after the separation, but did hear her parents discuss the 'other woman' about two years before appellant left the house. Appellee's brother-in-law stated he saw them together in 1942. Even appellant's testimony was uncertain as to when he first met his girl friend. Evidence of what occurred after his withdrawal from the house was relevant for the purpose of shedding light ...