Maurice W. Kail, for plaintiff.
F. C. Fiechter, Jr., with him Freeman, Fox & Fiechter, for defendant.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin and Watkins, JJ.
[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 324]
The parties, now in middle life, were married in 1931. The first separation occurred in 1946 when the the wife-plaintiff left her husband in their common home in Philadelphia. In an action brought by her, shortly thereafter, her attempt to divorce him on a charge of indignities was unsuccessful. She returned to him on February 4, 1951, and lived with him in the home which he had purchased, until October 24, 1954 when she again left him. Since then she has lived in an apartment in Philadelphia and has persisted in the separation down to the present. In June 1955 she brought the present action in divorce again charging indignities, and cruel and barbarous treatment. Without objection from either party, the proofs were limited to the period beginning with February 4, 1951. The
[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 325]
master recommended dismissal of the present complaint. The lower court found no merit in plaintiff's exceptions to the master's report and refused a divorce. Three appeals are before us which because related on the facts we may appropriately dispose of in this one opinion: (1) The plaintiff's appeal (No. 143) from the dismissal of her complaint in divorce; (2) the defendant's appeal (No. 81) from the order of the lower court directing him to pay plaintiff's counsel an additional fee of $500 and the master's additional fee of $1,000; (3) defendant's second appeal (No. 202) from an order of the Municipal Court of March 12, 1957 directing him to pay plaintiff $25 per week for her future support and $10 additional per week to apply on arrears on a prior support order.
The testimony developed before the master, at hearings on 9 different days, comprises more than 800 typewritten pages. From a reading of the entire record we feel sure that counsel on both sides have not overlooked any incident, however trivial, having even a remote bearing on the issues. The house in which the parties lived, title to which is in them by entireties, was entirely suitable and was more than adequately furnished; defendant bought it in June 1951 for $34,500. A Federal lien has been entered against the property on an unpaid income tax assessment which with interest amounted to $25,303 as of March 1, 1957.
Plaintiff testified that defendant found fault with her cooking and with her housekeeping generally. She admitted that she didn't like housework and in our view the criticism of her cooking was also justified. There are two sons. Donald, now about 22, has lived with his mother since the separation but is now in Korea in the armed services. The younger son Lee, now 18, has remained with his father and is employed
[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 326]
in the father's furniture business. The sons have taken sides in their parents' clashes. Donald as a witness has supported his mother in the present proceedings and Lee, his father. In her testimony she first complained that their differences since February 1951 were "financial primarily". But at a later hearing she said that "he gave me enough to live on"; that she was satisfied "with the financial support" received by her and that "finances were not the trouble." The proofs support her free admissions to that effect. She received about $240 from him per month for current household expenses. She had a talent for music and some training as a pianist. Defendant had provided her with a Steinway piano which she later sold, and not long before the final separation he bought her a Hammond organ at a cost of $2,750. He said he bought it and gave it to her to alleviate her discontent and to contribute to her happiness. In spite of that, she admitted calling him "cheap, parsimonious, mean, niggardly" on at least one occasion. After the separation she took all of the United States Savings Bonds, registered in both their names, with her to Cincinnati and sold them through a bank there. She realized at least $4,100 from the sale of such of them as she could negotiate ...