Albert F. Sabo, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Charles S. Schermer, Harry Baron, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Wright and Woodside, JJ.
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 473]
This action in divorce was brought by the husband on the ground of indignities. The master recommended a divorce; defendant's exceptions to the master's report were dismissed by the court; and a final decree was entered. Defendant appealed.
The parties were married May 15, 1915. Both were born in Poland; plaintiff came to the United States in 1913, defendant about two years later. No children were born of this marriage. Both parties are gainfully employed.
For the past twelve years the parties have occupied the same house, which is owned by them. Since the initiation of these proceedings they have continued to live in the same house, occupying different portions thereof, and eating their meals separately -- a procedure which had been followed for the last ten years.
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 474]
The plaintiff alleges that the indignities began in September, 1916 and continued to April 1950, however the major portion of testimony relates more particularly to alleged indignities occurring within the last ten years. These indignities consisted, among others, of defendant's repeatedly striking and beating the plaintiff without provocation; throwing articles such as chinaware at the plaintiff; using vile, profane, and vituperative language to him; constantly nagging, abusing and criticizing him and neglecting to perform her duties as a housewife.
To all of the evidence on these points the defendant made categorical denials and further made countercharges which the plaintiff in rebuttal denied.
The issue thus became one of credibility. The plaintiff's testimony is corroborated in important particulars by two of his sisters, a brother-in-law, and an entirely disinterested witness. Defendant called two witnesses, whose testimony in some respects was irrelevant and in others was contradictory of defendant herself. Likewise, defendant's denials were for the most part vague and inconsistent.
Although it is our duty in divorce cases, where there has been no jury trial, to make an independent examination of the record * * * 'it has frequently been said that the conclusions of the master who saw and heard the witnesses, while not controlling, are not to be lightly disregarded. This rule is particularly applicable in cases where the testimony is conflicting, for then the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses is especially helpful in arriving at the truth. Prisinzano v. Prisinzano, 151 Pa. Super. ...