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RETTEW ADOPTION CASE (03/15/68)

decided: March 15, 1968.

RETTEW ADOPTION CASE


Appeal from order of Orphans' Court of Lancaster County, No. 17 1/2 of 1966, in re adoption of Stephen Robert Rettew.

COUNSEL

Sam Ferguson Musser, for appellants.

Glenvar E. Harman, with him James P. Coho, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Musmanno. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Roberts concur in the result.

Author: Musmanno

[ 428 Pa. Page 431]

LaVerne Donald Rettew and Mary Margaret Drennan were married on December 6, 1958, and to them was born, on November 26, 1959, a child whom they named Stephen Robert, the subject of this lawsuit.

In the early part of 1962, Mary Margaret manifested signs of emotional instability and she was hospitalized on March 16th of that year in the Embreeville

[ 428 Pa. Page 432]

State Hospital. She apparently recovered quickly because she was released in three weeks. However, three months later her nerves tangled again and a stay of some five weeks in the hospital was required to untie the knots. On December 10, 1962, she was once more confined but there is a question as to whether her husband didn't exercise some coercion to bring about this last hospitalization.

Be that as it may, she left the hospital, after a six weeks' confinement, the frayed edges of her nerves apparently woven together into salubrious and permanent normality.

In the meanwhile, her husband had departed from their common domicile, taking young Robert with him, and had filed suit for divorce against her which she did not contest, and their marital bond was severed on October 23, 1963.

On April 11, 1964, LaVerne Rettew married a Miss Mary Virginia Evans, and in December, 1964, Mary Margaret married an Allen W. Maxwell.

On January 7, 1966, LaVerne Rettew and his new wife filed in the Orphans' Court of Lancaster County, a petition for the adoption of Stephen Robert, alleging that Mary Margaret, the child's mother, had abandoned her offspring, and that, therefore, her consent was not ...


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