Appeal, No. 189, Oct. T., 1961, from order of Municipal Court of Philadelphia County, Domestic Relations Division, No. 208497, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Saundria Snapir v. Maurice Snapir. Order affirmed.
Yale B. Bernstein, with him Michael H. Egnal, for appellant.
Charles Basch, with him Charles R. Weiner, for appellee.
Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).
[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 39]
We are here concerned with a controversy involving the custody of Israel Snapir, presently aged five years, the son of Maurice and Saundria Snapir. The case has a long procedural history, including three petitions for habeas corpus and a citation for contempt. Testimony was taken at nine hearings, and there is a voluminous original record. The ultimate disposition below was an order on March 17, 1961, awarding custody to the maternal grandparents, Meyer M. and Anna Trivus, with whom the child's mother resides. The father has appealed.
Maurice Snapir and Saundria Trivus were married on February 15, 1955. At that time Saundria was the mother of an illegitimate child, Frederick Morrison, of whom Maurice is not the father. Frederick lives with his mother in the Trivus home, and his custody is not
[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 40]
involved in this appeal. Israel, the child with whom we are presently concerned, was born on December 12, 1955. In the summer of 1957, a separation occurred. Saundria asserted that Maurice was physically abusive and told her to leave. Israel remained with his father in the home of the paternal grandparents, Rabbi Joseph Snapir and his wife, Leah. Saundria returned to the home of her parents.
The instant proceeding has its inception on May 6, 1958, when Saundria filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. After hearing on August 13, 1958, Israel's custody was temporarily awarded to Saundria, and both parties were referred for psychiatric examination. It should be here noted that Saundria had been hospitalized in 1954 for schizophrenic reaction, heberpherenic type. She was discharged from the Philadelphia Psychiatric Hospital as fairly well adjusted. Following the separation, she was again hospitalized for the same affliction from December 25, 1957 to April 18, 1958. It was because of the possibility of recurrences that full custody was not awarded to the mother. The record also clearly discloses that the father is not of stable mental condition, and the hearing judge found that he was unfit to have child.
On August 27, 1958, there was a further hearing, following which custody of Israel was continued with the mother and the father was granted visitation rights of one hour every other day. This visitation program caused frequent clashes and, at a hearing on January 22, 1959, the father's visitation rights were changed to certain weekends.
On May 18, 1959, Saundria was committed to the Psychiatric Division of the Philadelphia General Hospital, where she remained approximately four months. Maurice immediately filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus asking full custody of the child. ...