Appeal, No. 25, Oct. T., 1959, from order of Municipal Court of Philadelphia County, Jan. T., 1953, No. 298, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Ruth Eleanor Trichon v. Paul R. Trichon. Order affirmed.
Burton Spear, with him Spear & Hassett, for appellant.
Louis M. Cohen, with him Anthony S. Minisi, and Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (gunther, J., absent).
[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 396]
This is an appeal by a wife from an order reducing her support from $70.00 per week to $50.00 per week. In proceedings of this nature, we will not interfere with the determination of the court below unless there has been a clear abuse of discretion: Commonwealth ex rel. Kreiner v. Scheidt, 183 Pa. Superior Ct. 277, 131 A.2d 147.
Paul R. and Ruth E. Trichon were married on September 5, 1943, and separated on September 28, 1952. They have no children. On December 12, 1952, the wife filed a petition for support. At the conclusion of a hearing on January 5, 1953 before Judge BELOFF, an order of support was entered in the amount of $70.00 per week. On July 14, 1954, the husband filed a petition to reduce the order. There was a hearing on this petition before Judge BELOFF on July 29, 1954, and the matter was then continued. On December 23, 1954, according to the docket entries, the petition was withdrawn without prejudice. On May 20, 1958, a second petition to reduce the order was filed. On July 9, 1958, the matter was again heard by Judge BELOFF, who subsequently, on July 16, 1958, entered the order which is the subject of this appeal.
At the time of the first hearing the husband was employed by family enterprises engaged in the manufacture and sale of men's shirts and pajamas, and children's play clothing. As then found by Judge BELOFF, his gross income was $20,000.00, and his net income after payment of taxes was $15,000.00. The wife's income
[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 397]
from temporary employment was $600.00. Due to financial reverses in the family enterprises, the husband's business connection was severed in 1954, and he entered the construction field. He is presently employed by the Rosemont Construction Company and has a gross income of $13,119.61. His net income after payment of taxes is $10,346.97. On the other hand, the wife is now permanently employed with a net income after taxes of $2,700.00.
This action is governed by the provisions of Section 733 of the Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, 18 P.S. 4733. The purpose of this statute is not to punish the husband, but to secure a reasonable allowance for the support of the wife, consonant with the husband's property, income, earning capacity, and the family's condition in life: Commonwealth v. Henderson, 170 Pa. Superior Ct. 559, 87 A.2d 797. Support orders are not regarded as final and, upon cause shown, may be altered, repealed, suspended, increased or amended: Commonwealth ex rel. Allen v. Allen, 162 Pa. Superior Ct. 145, 56 A.2d 343. In a proceeding to reduce an existing order, the burden is on the husband to show by competent evidence such permanent changes in conditions or circumstances as would justify the requested modification: Commonwealth ex rel. Barnes v. Barnes, 151 Pa. Superior Ct. 202, 30 A.2d 437.
Appellant's first contention is as follows: "A reduction in a support order may not be predicated upon testimony of a change in circumstances which utilizes as its base evidence of net earnings which is contrary to that in the record upon which the original support order was set". We have carefully examined the original record. The testimony at the first hearing disclosed an involved corporate financial arrangement. ...