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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WOODRUFF v. WOODRUFF (12/09/58)

December 9, 1958

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WOODRUFF
v.
WOODRUFF, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 334, Oct. T., 1958, from order of Domestic Relations Division of Municipal Court of Philadelphia, No. 207806, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Mary Woodruff v. Joseph W. Woodruff. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Richard W. Hopkins, with him White, Williams & Scott, for appellant.

Louis Lipschitz, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (woodside, J., absent).

Author: Watkins

[ 188 Pa. Super. Page 321]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This is an appeal from an order of the Municipal Court directing payment of support in the amount of $30 per week by the appellant, Joseph W. Woodruff, to his wife, Mary Woodruff, the appellee.

There is no complaint concerning the amount of the order and the decision of the court below that the wife was justified in leaving her husband in the last week of March, 1957, is not raised by this appeal. The narrow question before us is whether the court below abused its discretion in finding that the wife was justified in refusing the offers of reconciliation, admittedly made by the husband, because of her belief that they were not sincere and were not made in good faith.

Our review of the record amply supports the order of the court below. The parties were married in Philadelphia on November 3, 1956. They lived for a short time with the wife's parents after which they moved to a home in Woodbury, New Jersey. From November until January the marriage was apparently harmonious but in January of 1957 disagreements arose between them which grew in intensity until they were an almost daily occurrence and ending in the appellee leaving her husband in March of 1957.

The appellee had been married and divorced twice and had two minor children from her prior marriages. Some of their difficulties seem to arise from his failure to adjust to the children in the home. She complained

[ 188 Pa. Super. Page 322]

    that these arguments ended in outbursts of abusive and vulgar language; that he attacked her and bruised her arm and finally threatened to kill her. She complains that his treatment affected her health and that she was very much afraid of him. He admits the use of abusive and vile language but explained that the language was induced by anger during the arguments. He denied most of the incidents testified to by the wife.

It is necessary to review the past actions of the appellant to determine the reasonableness of the wife's refusing to believe in his good faith. The offer of reconciliation must be made under such circumstances which should convince the wife of the genuineness of the proposal. Davis v. Davis, 156 Pa. Superior Ct. 342, 40 A.2d 144 (1944). The good faith and sincerity of the husband are best measured by his course of conduct prior to the hearing and prior to the offers of reconciliation; they certainly cannot be established by offers of ...


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