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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. BALPH v. BALPH (06/16/67)

decided: June 16, 1967.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. BALPH
v.
BALPH, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of County Court of Allegheny County, No. C-1006 of 1961, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Julie Balph v. William C. Balph.

COUNSEL

Myron B. Markel, with him Markel, Markel, Levenson & Fischer, for appellant.

Robert W. Smiley, with him Brandt, Riester, Brandt & Malone, for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Montgomery, J.

Author: Montgomery

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 245]

In this action for the support of two children of the appellant and appellee, who are divorced, there were two petitions presented to the lower court. The mother's petition sought an increase in an existing order of $150 per month which had been entered by agreement in September, 1961. The father's petition asked for a reduction in that order. After hearing, the lower court increased the order to $450 per month. This appeal followed.

In his opinion Judge Guffey stated that the increase was not based entirely on changed circumstances but that he exercised the privilege of considering the

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 246]

    case on a full review of "the entire situation" of the parties, citing Commonwealth ex rel. Raitt v. Raitt, 203 Pa. Superior Ct. 226, 199 A.2d 512 (1964), as his authority for doing so. Judge Guffey made a finding that at the time of the original agreed order, "The children were infants and other than the occurrence of unusual and unexpected health problems, their needs were minimal and could have been met with prudent management at the amount agreed upon for support", and justified the increase on a change of circumstances from the time of the first order, "The most significant . . . consists of the difference in age of the children . . ."

At the time of the first order the parties had just been divorced and the health of the children was "fine". Prior to the divorce the family lived near Pittsburgh in a home valued at $14,000, encumbered with a $6,500 mortgage. For six months after the divorce the children and their mother resided in Pittsburgh with Mr. Beach, whom appellee married immediately after her divorce from appellant. Thereafter they moved to Baltimore, Maryland. A third child, Richard E. Beach, Jr., was born to Mr. and Mrs. Beach after their removal to Baltimore. The Baltimore home cost $57,000, was improved by an expenditure of $40,000 and is now for sale at $89,000. The children, Lisa and John, attend a private school for one-half day (9 to 1), the tuition for Lisa being $448 and for John $388 per year. They belong to a private swimming club for which the annual dues is $30 per year for each one. They spend three weeks of their summer vacation at the seashore, Ocean City, Maryland. They have a pet dog, the expenses for which appellee estimates at $170 per year. She estimates two dollars per week as incidental expenses for recreation for each child, $300 for Lisa and $200 for John for plane transportation; $110 per year for drugs for Lisa and $226 for John; $190 for doctors per year and $30 for dental

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 247]

    work for each child; $600 for each as shelter expense; $690 per year for dairy products; $1,200 per year for food; $250 for toys; $160 for baby sitter at the rate of $18 for five hours, etc., totaling, according to her testimony, $3,958 for Lisa and $3,660 for John, exclusive of medical expenses of $50 per week for psychiatric treatments for John.

Mr. Beach travels and appellee makes frequent trips with him to such places as Delta Beach Hotel in Puerto Rico, the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Hawaii, Lake View Country Club, Morgantown, West Virginia. Mr. Beach retains his membership in the Pittsburgh Field Club and the Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh with the intention ...


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