Appeal, No. 235, Oct. T., 1956, from order of Municipal Court of Philadelphia County, May 11, 1956, No. 118678, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Bertha Sternberg v. Hyman Sternberg. Order reversed in part.
Harry Fischer, for appellant.
Robert H. Arronson, with him Herbert H. Hadra, and Maurice Freedman, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt, J., absent).
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 217]
This appeal involves the propriety of the order of the court below in support proceedings wherein the appellant, Hyman Sternberg was ordered to pay accumulated
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 218]
arrearages to his wife from the cash surrender values of certain life insurance policies. On February 2, 1951, the Municipal Court of Philadelphia County entered an order of support against appellant and in favor of his wife in the sum of $7.00 per week. Thereafter, appellant attempted to have this order revoked but on December 31, 1953, the court below dismissed the application and continued in force the original order. This order also made provision for the payment of arrearages at the rate of $3.00 per week.
Upon failure of appellant to comply with the support order, an attachment was issued and a hearing was held on January 1, 1956. Appellant's son, Joel Sternberg, was subpoenaed to appear and ordered to produce certain life insurance policies on the life of appellant which he had in his possession. The son testified that he had possession of five insurance policies on the life of his father; that he has been paying the premiums on these policies for the past five or six years; that in addition, he paid hospital expenses and convalescent home expenses incurred within the previous year. The total cash surrender values and accumulated dividends on these policies amounted to $14,725.01.
Appellant is 75 years of age and his wife is 69. At the time of hearing a court appointed physician testified that appellant was placed in a home for the aged for approximately a year; that he has attempted suicide on two previous occasions; that physically he maintained himself fairly well but that he has deteriorated mentally. No evidence was produced to show who in fact was the real owner of the policies in question or whether any of the policies may be exempt from attachment for any reason, or whether the cash surrender value of these policies may be or legally could be used for the support of appellant's wife.
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 219]
After hearing the court below entered an order directing appellant to pay the sum of $1,058.00 on account of accumulated arrearages. In addition the court ordered: "If for any reason said defendant is unable to pay this amount, he shall within thirty (30) days from this order make application for funds either by cash surrender or loan on full paid insurance policies Nos. 6,588,282 - 8,086,170 - 8,079,111 owned by him and issued by the New York Life Insurance Company, to the extent required for ...