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KRAMER v. KRAMER (03/22/61)

March 22, 1961

KRAMER
v.
KRAMER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 339, Oct. T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, July T., 1958, No. 41, in case of Russell B. Kramer v. Gwendolyn M. Kramer. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

James P. Coho, for appellant.

William R. Howard, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 539]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

This is an appeal by the defendant-wife from a decree awarding her husband an absolute divorce on the

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 540]

    ground of indignities to the person. The master recommended a decree. The court below dismissed exceptions to the master's report and entered a decree in favor of the husband.

Defendant's main contentions are that plaintiff did not establish the charge of indignities entitling him to a decree, and that she presented an adequate defense. On appeal we are obliged to review the record and make an independent investigation of the evidence to determine whether a cause for divorce has been established. Rinoldo v. Rinoldo, 125 Pa. Superior Ct. 323, 325, 189 A. 566; Rankin v. Rankin, 181 Pa. Superior Ct. 414, 418, 124 A.2d 639.

Our independent consideration of the evidence discloses the following facts: The parties were married on October 9, 1948, and lived in Mount Joy, Lancaster County, until July 3, 1958, when defendant moved out of the common domicile. At the time of the marriage, plaintiff was a widower and had a daughter. No children were born of the present marriage. At the time of the hearings plaintiff was 48 years of age and defendant was 47. The indignities about which plaintiff complains allegedly began in 1950, when defendant made false statements to plaintiff concerning plaintiff's brother with the intent to create friction between plaintiff and his brother. At the time of the marriage, plaintiff's mother resided in their home; defendant mistreated the mother so that the latter was compelled to leave. This mistreatment of plaintiff and his family was corroborated by plaintiff's sister. The defendant, from 1950 to 1958, frequently found fault with plaintiff's conduct and habits, criticized him, nagged him, became enraged and repeatedly called plaintiff abusive names. Defendant admitted swearing at plaintiff, and charges of frequent profanity and foul language on the part of defendant were corroborated by witnesses for plaintiff.

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 541]

In March or April, 1958, defendant, over plaintiff's objections, engaged a Frederick Leiberher, of Mount Joy, to do papering, painting, and repair work at the home of the parties. The work continued periodically until July, 1958, at a cost of over $800. To plaintiff's assertion that much of the work was unnecessary, defendant replied that he should "go to hell"; that she would do as she wished. Plaintiff's evidence showed that a close friendship developed between Leiberher and defendant; that the parties were frequently alone during the time Leiberher worked in their home, and that on two evenings plaintiff returned home unexpectedly from a lodge meeting about 10 p.m. and found Leiberher visiting with defendant. According to plaintiff, defendant ostensibly made visits to a hairdresser, on July 1 and 2, 1958, but was seen late each evening emerging from Leiberher's car. When accused by plaintiff of this conduct, defendant, in profane language, called plaintiff a liar. On July 3, 1958, defendant moved from their home and took many things that did not belong to her. Defendant thereafter lived in nearby places, including Mount Gretna. She admitted that from the time she moved out of the home until the time of the hearings she was very friendly with Leiberher; that Leiberher was a boarder at her separate home in Mount Gretna; and that he occasionally ate meals and ...


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