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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. ALEXANDER v. ALEXANDER (12/20/71)

decided: December 20, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. ALEXANDER
v.
ALEXANDER, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Superior Court affirming order of County Court of Philadelphia, July T., 1963, No. 2974, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Doris Alexander v. Fort Alexander.

COUNSEL

Arneda J. Hazell, for appellant.

Edward B. Rosenberg, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Mr. Justice Roberts concurs in the result. Mr. Justice O'Brien dissents. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Chief Justice Bell joins in this concurring opinion.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 445 Pa. Page 407]

This appeal involves an action for maintenance and support by appellee against appellant in which the lower court issued a support order in favor of appellee

[ 445 Pa. Page 408]

    in the amount of eighteen dollars per week. The Superior Court affirmed per curiam, without opinion, three judges dissenting.*fn1 We granted allocatur to determine whether the lower court abused its discretion in making the findings of fact upon which the support order was based.

The several hearings leading up to the final order began on November 18, 1963, at which time a temporary support order was entered, and culminated in a hearing held on September 13, 1968,*fn2 shortly after which the final order was entered. The testimony from the hearings can be summarized as follows:

Appellee testified that she and appellant were married in Elkton, Maryland on November 11, 1961, and that in July, 1963 her husband deserted her to take up residence with another woman. A certified copy of the application for a marriage license and the certificate of marriage from Cecil County, Maryland was introduced in support of appellee's testimony. Appellant admitted the truth of appellee's testimony and supporting evidence, but he attempted to prove an impediment to the marriage by showing that both parties were previously married to other spouses and that neither had obtained a divorce.

As to appellee's prior marriage, appellant testified that appellee had told him that she had formerly married one Almanus Hill. Appellant introduced a 1948 marriage certificate evidencing the marriage of one Doris Wilson and Almanus Hill in Union County,

[ 445 Pa. Page 409]

South Carolina.*fn3 Appellee steadfastly denied appellant's testimony, stating that she had never been married before and that her maiden name was Doris Hill. The Common Pleas Court found that appellant had not sufficiently supported his allegation of appellee's prior marriage. In light of the evidence presented and since credibility is a matter solely within the province of the trial judge, Cowen v. Krasas, 438 Pa. 171, 175, 264 A.2d ...


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