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POTTER v. POTTER (01/12/51)

January 12, 1951

POTTER
v.
POTTER



COUNSEL

John R. Bentley, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Thomas Park Shearer, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Before Hirt, Acting P. J., and Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Reno

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 403]

RENO, Judge.

Plaintiff was granted a divorce on the ground of indignities, and his wife appealed. Our decision turns upon the credibility of the witnesses, and as the trial judge, sitting without a jury, found for plaintiff, his conclusions cannot be lightly set aside. Weber v. Weber, 156 Pa. Super. 6, 39 A.2d 144; Gerster v. Gerster, 166 Pa. Super. 105, 70 A.2d 429; Arnold v. Arnold, 167 Pa. Super. 211, 74 A.2d 524. An independent and careful review of the record has engendered the conclusion that Judge Kennedy's judgment that the weight of the credible evidence favors plaintiff is sound, and the decree will be affirmed.

This couple married before the girl had finished high school and was only 16 years old. Plaintiff, five years her senior, was hardly earning a sufficient salary to support himself. Perhaps if they had been left to lead their own lives without well-intended, but misguided, parental domination their marital relationship might not have culminated in the divorce court.

Their difficulties were only partially due to defendant's immaturity but mostly because of her inability to live within her husband's meager earnings. They constantly bickered over finances and were continually in debt as a result of buying on credit. He complains that defendant failed and neglected to provide proper meals, was unable to care for the house, constantly called him vile and opprobrious names, belittled his rank of corporal

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 404]

    in the army and ridiculed his inability to obtain a commission. She falsely accused him of running around with women while in the service, and that they wrote letters to him. During their first year of married life defendant threw a cast iron skillet at her husband which missed him but broke the door and put a hole in the linoleum. On one occasion she upset the table and threw cups and saucers at him while he was holding the baby. Another time she 'whaled' a beer glass at him which hit him in the back. He testified she frequently tried to scratch his eyes out and threatened to kill him. At least once she attacked him with a butcher knife. During defendant's pregnancy she told her husband she never wanted the baby and attempted to bring about a miscarriage. She also said that some day she would tell him who was the real father.

For about a year while plaintiff was in the army defendant lived with him in a rooming house outside the camp and secured employment in a department store. Several times he obtained overnight leave and arrived home unexpectedly to find his wife was out. When he left at five in the morning she had not returned. Her explanation was that she had been taking inventory at the store, or had gone to a show with some girls.

Twice the parties separated. The first time, about a month after they were married, defendant put plaintiff's clothes out in the hall, and he stayed away overnight. The second occasion in 1946 resulted from an altercation at the gasoline service station which the parties owned. Plaintiff testified his wife wanted all the receipts from the operation of the station and her mother and brother demanded he leave and give her the money. Plaintiff finally got away ...


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