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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. MASON v. MASON (12/12/68)

decided: December 12, 1968.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. MASON
v.
MASON, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1968, No. 2166, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Billy C. Mason v. Veronica Mason, now Veronica Shevchik.

COUNSEL

Richard G. Zeleznik, for appellant.

William Moldovan, for appellee.

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

Author: Montgomery

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 434]

In this habeas corpus proceeding relator, Billy C. Mason, the father of Linda Gale Mason, age eight, and Billy Clarence Mason, age five, sought to secure their custody from their mother, Veronica Shevchik, who resided with them in the Glassport-McKeesport area of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

These parents had been divorced by decree entered on April 28, 1966 by the Circuit Court of Alabama where the parties then resided. As a part of that decree there was included a provision that custody of the two children should vest in the mother with suitable

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 435]

    visitation rights given to the father. This arrangement had been agreed to by the parties. Thereafter, on March 25, 1967 the father remarried and later moved to Mississippi. The mother remarried on October 6, 1967 and with her husband and children moved to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in January, 1968. This removal of the children from Alabama was contrary to the decree which provided that they should not be removed from the jurisdiction of the Alabama Court without first obtaining its express permission.

Following the removal of the children from Alabama their father advised the Alabama Court and petitioned the Court to modify its prior order. A copy of the petition was served on the mother by registered mail sent to her in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, which included a notice of a hearing to be held in Alabama on February 19, 1968. She did not respond to this notice which was received by her on February 12, 1968, and she did not appear at the hearing. The hearing, ex parte, resulted in a modification of the original decree and the granting of temporary custody to the father. A further hearing on the matter was set for March 1, 1968. On March 1, 1968 the mother again failing to appear at the hearing, the Court again granted temporary custody of the children to the father, suspended an order it had previously imposed on the father for the support of the children, and held the mother in contempt for removing them from the jurisdiction of that Court and refusing to appear with them at the aforestated hearings.

Thereafter, in May, 1968 the father instituted these proceedings in Allegheny County, and after hearing was awarded full custody of the children, ". . . until such time as the respondent, Veronica Mason, presents her petition to the Court in Alabama for a change of the custody order which as it now stands in Alabama awards full custody to the father."

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 436]

This appeal followed the entry of that order. A petition for a supersedeas to prevent the immediate transfer of the children from the mother to the father was subsequently presented, but it was refused on condition that the father would post a surety bond in the sum of $1,000 to assure the presence of the children in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania when required. The bond was ...


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