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KNAUS v. KNAUS (12/29/56)

December 29, 1956

KNAUS
v.
KNAUS, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 48, March T., 1956, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1953, No. 803, in case of Vida L. Knaus v. William A. Knaus. Order reversed. Proceeding upon order for attachment in contempt. Order of commitment for contempt entered, opinion by WEISS, J. Defendant appealed.

COUNSEL

Frank R. Bolte, for appellant.

John B. Nicklas, Jr., with him Allen D. McCrady and McCrady & Nicklas, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 387 Pa. Page 372]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, No. 803, January Term, 1953, committing appellant until he purged himself of contempt of that court.

In September 1949, William A. Knaus, that appellant, sued in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County for an absolute divorce from his wife, Vida L. Knaus, the appellee. Mrs. Knaus in turn filed a counter-suit for a limited divorce in February of 1950. The two cases were tried together before Judge WEISS, and both were dismissed on July 22, 1952. Mrs. Knaus appealed her case to the Superior Court which, on March 17, 1953, affirmed the dismissal (173 Pa. Superior Ct. 111). On August 25, 1952, at No. 1871, April Term, 1950, Judge WEISS ordered appellant to pay an additional counsel fee of $850 to appellee's attorney and witness fees and expenses in the sum of $125, which payments, it appears, have not been made.

[ 387 Pa. Page 373]

Prior to the dismissal of the divorce actions by Judge WEISS, appellant moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, establishing residence there on June 24, 1952. On August 28, 1952, four days after the necessary two months statutory period of residence he instituted a divorce action in the Pulaski Chancery Court in Arkansas. On September 5, 1952, Mrs. Knaus was notified of the Arkansas proceeding. She filed a special appearance there on September 23, 1952, and contested the jurisdiction of the Arkansas Court on the ground that appellant was still domiciled in Pennsylvania.

After the Arkansas suit was instituted and before a hearing was held, appellee, on October 24, 1952, filed the injunctive proceeding in question on this appeal. This case was docketed by the Allegheny County Court as No. 803, January Term, 1953. Appellant, who was served in Arkansas by registered mail, filed a special appearance and preliminary objections contesting the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Court.

A hearing was held on the appellee's bill in equity on November 5, 1952, before Judge WEISS, who, on that date, issued a preliminary injunction restraining appellant from proceeding with the Arkansas divorce, from proceeding with any other divorce, and from doing anything else "jeopardizing" the marital status. Two months later, on January 5, 1953, a hearing was held in the Arkansas divorce case, at which appellee appeared and testified, and on April 2, 1953, the Arkansas Court granted appellant a final divorce decree. Appellee appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the lower court decree on April 19, 1954. Appellant then married one Georgiana Barbarich in Arkansas on August 7, 1954, and a child was subsequently born of this marriage. While the appeal to

[ 387 Pa. Page 374]

    the Arkansas Supreme Court was still pending, Judge WEISS, on September 4, 1953, in response to a motion made by appellee's counsel, adjudged appellant in contempt of the November 5, 1952 order (No. 803, January Term, 1953), which had enjoined appellant from proceeding with the Arkansas divorce, and also in contempt of the August 25, 1952, order (No. 1871, April Term, 1950), which had ordered appellant to pay an additional ...


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