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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. THOMPSON v. THOMPSON (07/17/52)

July 17, 1952

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. THOMPSON
v.
THOMPSON



COUNSEL

Manfred Landau, Romain C. Hassrick, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Stanley Bashman, Asst. Dist. Atty., Michael von Moschzisker, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Richardson Dilworth, Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Ross

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 50]

ROSS, Judge.

On April 26, 1946 Eva B. Thompson filed a petition in the Domestic Relations Division of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia County against Benjamin D. Thompson, her husband, asking for support for herself and her two minor children. An order of support in the sum of $32.50 was entered on September 10, 1946, and the husband's petition to reduce filed thereafter was dismissed on December 19, 1947. No appeal was taken from either of these rulings.

The present appeal arose in this manner: On October 20, 1949 Benjamin D. Thompson filed a second petition to reduce and an amended petition to reduce on January 23, 1950. Meanwhile, however, on January 5, 1950, his wife filed her own petition seeking an increase in the order. After hearings on the cross-petitions the court below dismissed the husband's petition to reduce and increased the order of September 10, 1946 from $32.50 to $38.00 a week. This appeal by the husband followed.

The Act of June 19, 1939, P.L. 440, sec. 1, 17 P.S. ยง 263, provides: 'Any order heretofore or hereafter

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 51]

    made by any court of this Commonwealth for the support of a wife, child or parent, may be altered, repealed, suspended, increased, or amended, and the said court may, at any time, remit, correct or reduce the amount of any arrearages, as the case may warrant.' Thus, orders of support are not regarded as final and may be increased, reduced or vacated where the financial condition of the parties changes, or where other proper reasons are shown. But the party seeking modification of a support order has the burden of showing, by competent evidence, such a charge or changes in conditions as will justify modification. Com. ex rel. Crandall v. Crandall, 145 Pa. Super. 359, 21 A.2d 236; Com. ex rel. Mazon v. Mazon, 163 Pa. Super. 502, 63 A.2d 112.

Appellee's petition to increase the sum moving to her and the children under the order of September 10, 1946 is based upon an alleged improvement in the financial condition of her husband and an increase in the cost of maintaining herself and the children. Appellant does not now question the appellee's need for more money; he does argue, however, that there is no evidence of an improvement in his financial condition.

On September 10, 1946, when the order of $32.50 a week was made, the appellant, a minister, had a monthly income from all sources of $288.33. At the hearing which gave rise to this appeal, appellee testified that her husband's income had risen to $322.68 a month. The appellant admitted a weekly income of $73.82 or, for purposes of comparison, $319.89 a month. The court resolved the small difference in appellee's favor.

Further, the court below found that appellant 'has either equitable title or a beneficial interest' in certain real property located at 2121 North 18th Street in the City of Philadelphia. This circumstance ...


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