Appeal, No. 65, Oct. T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, Jan. T., 1960, No. 88, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Carrie Bailey v. Benton Sumner et al. Order, as modified, affirmed.
M. J. DeSisti, with him E. C. O'Connor, for appellant.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ.
[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 81]
This is an appeal by Carrie Bailey, the mother of Patricia Ann Baptiste, from the order of the court below awarding custody of the minor child to the paternal grandmother and step-grandfather.
The child's father was Herman Baptiste who married appellant. This marriage terminated in divorce on May 4, 1955. Patricia Ann Baptiste was born of that marriage on August 13, 1947. After the divorce, appellant married Lloyd Bailey on December 1, 1956 with whom she is now living with two children of that marriage, one 20 months and the other eight months old.
The controversy over custody of the minor child dates back to May, 1954, when the father filed a petition seeking custody of his minor daughter. The parents of the minor were then separated and it was alleged that the father was deprived of visitation rights by the mother. The court below awarded custody to the mother with vacation custody to the father and specific visitation rights. In August, 1956, while the child was on vacation and in custody of the father, another petition was filed by the father to determine the future custody of the child, alleging that the child had been residing with the father for a few weeks and that the child wished to remain with him and the paternal grandparents, Benton Sumner and Ruth Sumner. At that hearing, the testimony disclosed that the minor child had been taken by the mother on a trip with a man known as William Lloyd Bailey, going up through Canada and back through New England States, staying the first night in New York State at a place called "North Pole," where all three of them occupied the same motel room. At the conclusion of this hearing, the
[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 82]
court below entered an order continuing the previous order with the proviso that the mother was forbidden to take the child out of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania without approval of court and after notice to her husband, and that she was further directed not to take the child on any trips with any other man when she stays overnight.
On October 25, 1956, another petition was filed on behalf of the father, alleging that the mother had taken a trip to the State of New York with a man and the child, and that the three persons occupied the same motel room. Testimony was taken on November 20, 1956, and on February 20, 1957, the court below awarded custody of the child to the paternal grandparents until the termination of the school year and provided for visitation by the mother. On February 28, 1957, custody of the minor child was awarded to the father with the understanding that the child live at the home of her grandmother until the end of the school year. This custody remained unchanged for almost three years.
On December 24, 1959, Herman Baptiste was killed in an automobile accident. The mother filed a petition on January 4, 1960, seeking custody of the child from the paternal grandparents. This hearing developed the fact that the child lived with the grandparents quite some time. After the father obtained custody in February, 1957, the child lived with her father and grandparents in their home until May, 1959, when the father and his second wife moved to their own home, taking the child with them. The testimony disclosed that the father and the stepmother of the child lived at the home of her grandparents for about a year after the father's remarriage to assist in the ...