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MARRA v. MARRA (03/18/59)

March 18, 1959

MARRA
v.
MARRA, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 230, April T., 1958, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1943, No. 80, in case of Aida N. Marra v. Daniel A. Marra. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

John B. Nicklas, Jr., for appellant.

Clyde P. Bailey, with him William J. Graham, for appellee.

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

Author: Ervin

[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 182]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

This is an appeal from an order of the court below dismissing appellant's petition for decrease in alimony a mensa et thoro and granting appellee's petition for counsel fees.

On March 28, 1951 the wife-appellee was granted a divorce a.m.e.t. and awarded permanent alimony in the sum of $300.00 per month. By order of this Court dated April 22, 1952 the order was reduced to $160.00 a month: Marra v. Marra, 170 Pa. Superior Ct. 588, 594, 88 A.2d 112. On June 23, 1952 the appellant filed his petition seeking a further decrease in the amount of the order. On June 19, 1958 the court below entered an order dismissing the petition, from which this appeal was taken.

The Act of May 2, 1929, P.L. 1237, § 47, 23 PS § 47, provides: "In cases of divorce from bed and board, the court may allow the wife such alimony as her husband's circumstances will admit of, but the same shall not exceed the third part of the annual profit or income of his estate, or of his occupation and labor...." (Emphasis supplied)

In the prior proceedings in this case before this Court it was revealed that appellant's income for the year 1950 was "$5,750.75 after Federal tax". It also appeared that the appellant was paying a support order of $200.00 a month for the maintenance of four minor children. In the present proceedings the appellant presented evidence to show that his income is limited to interest at 2 1/2 per cent on United States government bonds having a value of $112,000.00 or an annual income of $2,800.00. With reference to the decrease in income the court below in its opinion said: "From the evidence adduced thereat, it will be seen that the defendant has converted virtually all of his property into low earning securities or property producing

[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 183]

A decree of divorce a.m.e.t. awarding permanent alimony to the wife is a bar to any action for support on behalf of the wife in quarter sessions: Heilbron v. Heilbron, 158 Pa. 297, 301, 27 A. 967; Freedman, Law of Marriage and Divorce, 2d ed., § 483, p. 1006.

In McMahon v. McMahon, 167 Pa. Superior Ct. 51, 74 A.2d 718, we decided in a proceedings involving a divorce a.m.e.t. that the court was not restricted to the husband's actual earnings but could also consider his earning power. In numerous support order cases we have decided that all of the attendant circumstances may be considered.*fn2 We have also held that a husband may not refuse to occupy his time properly in order to diminish the allowance made to his wife: Edgar v. Edgar, 23 Pa. Superior Ct. 220, 222; Bender v. Bender, 86 Pa. Superior Ct. 182, 185. A wife may not be required to sacrifice alimony payments to which she is presently entitled in the expectation of larger payments in the future: Rosenberg v. Rosenberg, 163 Pa. Superior Ct. 138, 60 A.2d 350. Should we decide ...


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