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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. GUTZEIT v. GUTZEIT (03/21/63)

March 21, 1963

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. GUTZEIT
v.
GUTZEIT, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 368, Oct. T., 1962, from order of County Court of Philadelphia, April T., 1962, No. 1838, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Jean Gutzeit v. Samuel Gutzeit. Order amended and, as modified, affirmed.

COUNSEL

C. Max Ivins, for appellant.

Edward L. Wolf, with him Richter, Levy, Lord, Toll & Cavanaugh, for appellee.

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

Author: Woodside

[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 404]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

We are here reviewing an order entered by the County Court of Philadelphia against a husband for the support of his wife. We must determine whether the order must be reduced as excessive and whether it must be modified as being too indefinite.

The order from which the appeal was taken is as follows: "And now, July 25, 1962, Defendant is ordered to pay Mortgage, Taxes and Insurance on Brocklehurst Street Home. Defendant to pay Electric, Gas and Gardening Bills, and maintain car for wife. Pay Professional Fees to Doctors, plus $145.00 per week (including $94.50 per week for Nursing Care) to Wife."

We shall modify the order by striking therefrom that part which we have had printed above in italics, and we shall increase the cash order from $145 per week to $160 per week.

Samuel and Jean Gutzeit were married October 21, 1925, and lived together until December 20, 1961, when the defendant left the common domicile. Two children were born to the marriage. One died in his youth and the other, a son now 31 years of age, is married and has

[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 405]

    three children. The petitioner is 55 years of age, and the defendant is 59. When the defendant left the petitioner, he closed all her charge accounts and paid her $50 a week and certain expenses of operating her house and automobile until March or April of 1962. After he stopped these payments, the wife brought this action.

The defendant is president, treasurer, salesman and the sole stockholder of Broad Electric Supply Company, a corporation engaged in the business of selling electrical appliances. The record shows that the defendant valued the company at "something under $600,000," but his attorney insists that in stating this sum the defendant misunderstood the question asked him, and the figure used was intended to refer to the annual gross sales of the company. The court below set the personal wealth of the defendant at $336,280.65. This figure includes assets of approximately $10,000 in addition to the corporation's stock, but omits the value of an automobile, a boat and his equity in Philadelphia and Atlantic City real estate.

It is argued that the value of the corporation was determined by the court below by duplicating the company's assets and ignoring its liabilities. On the basis of the calculation used by the court below, its valuation of the corporation is invalid. The book value appears to be only $69,000, but this, too, is not an accurate test of the true value. It is difficult to place a fair valuation on the stock of a closely held corporation. The court below while appraising certain corporate assets too high, places no value on the good will of the corporation. The good will of a prospering corporate business with 13 employes and nearly $600,000 gross sales has a substantial value. By adding a fair value of this good will to the corporation's other assets, its stock can be conservatively appraised at a sum between $100,000 and $200,000. But whether defendant's

[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 406]

    total net worth approximates these sums, or is over $330,000 as found by the court below, makes little difference in the determination of this case. It is clear that the defendant's assets are substantial, and that he owns and operates a successful business. The assets of a defendant are to be considered in setting the amount of a support order. Commonwealth v. Surovitz, 148 Pa. Superior Ct. ...


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