J. E. Marshall and Marshall & Marshall, all of Butler, for appellant.
William F. Beatty, Pittsburgh, Luther C. Braham, Butler, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 544]
In this divorce action the master recommended that a divorce be granted to the libellant husband on the ground of indignities, and, by supplemental report, on the ground of desertion. The libel was filed on July 22, 1946,*fn1 in which the ground for divorce was alleged indignities. The master filed his original report on March 9, 1947, to which report the respondent wife filed exceptions. On January 3, 1949, after argument upon the exceptions and before the court below took any action, libellant amended his libel to include desertion. The matter was thereafter referred to the master for further hearing. Subsequently the master filed his supplemental report. On September 29, 1949, the court below filed two opinions, one having reference to the alleged indignities and the other to desertion. The court below refused to accept the recommendations of the master and dismissed the libel. Libellant has appealed to this Court.
The parties were married on April 26, 1941. Both had been previously married and divorced. Following their marriage they resided in respondent's home at 904 North Canal Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Respondent sold her home and purchased another at 853 South Canal Street in the same city, where they resided until December, 1944.
Libellant was employed as a laborer at the time of their marriage, and for some time thereafter, by the Crucible Steel Company. On December 11, 1942, he sustained an injury while at work, which resulted in the loss of his right hand, and which necessitated the removal of a piece of his skull bone. Thereafter he received compensation in the amount of $18 per week until disposition of an action brought for damages for
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 545]
his injuries. There was a verdict in his favor on November 17, 1943, in the amount of $38,000. After attorney fees, advancements, and other expenses were paid the net amount received by libellant on November 13, 1944, was slightly less than $20,000. This sum was deposited in a bank in a joint account against which either libellant or respondent could draw, and partially invested in a mortgage held jointly.
In December, 1944, the parties went to Florida where they apparently intended to purchase some real estate. Respondent became dissatisfied with the proposed purchase involving $7,000 and she returned alone to Pittsburgh. On her arrival she transferred the joint bank account to an account in her individual name. Her stated purpose in so doing was to prevent clearance of a $1,000 check which libellant had given on the purchase price and to prevent him from further wasting his money. Libellant returned to Pittsburgh by train a few days later. For some time they lived apart, libellant being dependent on his friends.
On January 29, 1945, respondent filed a petition in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County to have libellant declared a weakminded person and for the appointment of a guardian. Libellant filed a bill in equity against respondent seeking to restrain her from using any of the money which she had transferred to her own name. The parties entered into an agreement on March 29, 1945, pursuant to the terms of which the money held by her was placed in a joint account requiring for withdrawals the signatures of both parties. The title to respondent's real estate was likewise placed in both names. Title to her automobile was not transferred in ...