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STOFKO v. STOFKO (06/12/63)

June 12, 1963

STOFKO
v.
STOFKO, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 209, April T., 1962, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1960, No. 3559, in case of Mike Stofko v. Anna Stofko. Decree reversed. Divorce. Before BROSKY, J.

COUNSEL

Sidney Baker, with him Krause & Baker, for appellant.

Francis Taptich, for appellee.

Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Montgomery

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 302]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

This is an appeal from a decree granting a divorce a.v.m. to husband-appellee on the grounds of indignities.

Our duty in such cases is to examine all the evidence de novo in order to reach an independent conclusion as to whether the allegations of the complaint have been sustained. Lilley v. Lilley, 196 Pa. Superior Ct. 261, 175 A.2d 164. Generally we receive help in reaching our conclusions, especially on the issue of credibility, from the report of the master, if any, and from the adjudication or opinion of the lower court. There was no master in this case and we find little help in that regard from the opinion of the lower court inasmuch as it does not contain any comments on the credibility of the parties or their witnesses, merely recites the testimony without making specific findings based thereon, and concludes that "each (party) is an innocent and injured spouse to some extent", but that "for the good of the plaintiff's health and well-being", it is constrained to grant the relief he seeks.

Although we have decided to review the case without first returning it to the lower court for specific findings, we direct the attention of the lower court to the fact that this Court is not a trial court but one of review.

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 303]

From the record we make the following findings of fact. Husband-appellee and wife-appellant were married October 30, 1948. Both are of Slavish descent and each had been married previously, the husband's first wife having died in 1946 and the wife's first husband having died in 1942. At the time of their marriage appellee was 61 years of age, had three grown children and was a steelworker for the United States Steel Corporation at its North Braddock mill. In 1954 he was retired and placed on pension after 47 years of faithful service.

At the time of the marriage appellant was 48, did housework and office cleaning to support herself and her two children, then aged 15 and 16. They lived in a house owned by the mother at 557 Corey Avenue in Braddock, which had been bought during the lifetime of her former husband in their joint names, as tenants by the entirety. Appellee also owned a house in Braddock at 227 Lobinger Avenue which at that time he occupied with one of his daughters, Mrs. Mary Pastor, and her family. This daughter vacated these premises shortly after the marriage and resented having to do so, placing the blame on appellant.

Following the marriage, the parties continued to reside in their respective homes for two months until appellee's daughter vacated appellee's home. During this period appellee would take his meals at appellant's home and go to work from there. Appellant also continued to work. Shortly before Christmas, 1948, they moved into his property after having purchased considerable new furniture and furnishings which were ...


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