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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HARMON v. HARMON (01/20/53)

January 20, 1953

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HARMON
v.
HARMON



COUNSEL

Harry R. Back, of Back & Levy, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Thomas M. Reed, Marilyn J. Gelb, Asst. Dist. Attys., Michael von Moschzisker, First Asst. Dist. Atty., and Richardson Dilworth, Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Dithrich

[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 460]

DITHRICH, Judge.

This is an appeal by the husband from an order of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia dismissing his petition to vacate an order for the support of his wife made by that court on October 31, 1950. In dismissing the petition the learned judge of the court below refused to accord full faith and credit to a decree of divorce a. v. m., dated October 3, 1951, obtained by appellant in the State of Virginia, holding that the Virginia court was without jurisdiction.

At the hearing on the petition, appellant testified to the following. In 1946 he married respondent and, until their separation, lived with her in Philadelphia, where he had resided since 1943. In September, 1950, following a period of hospitalization for pneumonia, he went to Virginia for a long vacation and rest, and there lived on a farm with his uncle. In November, 1951, after the entry of the decree of divorce, he returned to Philadelphia, where, in the spring of 1952,

[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 461]

    he reopened a garage business which he had established in 1949, but which he was forced to discontinue when stricken with pneumonia.

The respondent testified that during the pendency of the divorce proceeding she saw appellant in Philadelphia in December, 1950 and in April and August of 1951. She also testified that during that time she saw him working at his place of business.

The evidence is sufficient to support the conclusion of the court below that appellant had not established a domicile in Virginia. As stated by Judge Piekarski, 'His conduct in returning almost immediately to his old place of business, his frequent returns to Philadelphia and to his place of business * * * during the pendency of the divorce proceeding accord with his expressed intention of establishing only an abode in Virginia for purposes of temporary convenience as contrasted with any intention of permanently establishing a new domicile.'

Appellant's testimony that he went to Virginia in September, 1950, given at the hearing on the petition to vacate, differed from his testimony, given at the divorce hearing in February, 1951, that he separated from his wife and went to live in Virginia in October, 1948, as did his testimony in the instant proceeding that he first got the garage in Philadelphia in 1949, a year after he testified he went to Virginia to live. Because the record in the divorce case was not filed as part of the record in the instant case until after the learned judge had written his opinion, counsel for appellant urges that we remand the record to permit the taking of additional testimony to explain the discrepancies in appellant's testimony.

The order of the court below rests fundamentally on a finding that appellant had not established a domicile in Virginia. Domicile ...


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