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SARGENT v. SARGENT (06/14/73)

decided: June 14, 1973.

SARGENT
v.
SARGENT, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Jan. T., 1972, No. 106, in case of Loretta Sargent v. Jerry D. Sargent.

COUNSEL

Wallace H. Webster, Jr., with him Perkin, Webster & Christie, for appellant.

Charles J. Fonzone, with him Martin J. Karess, and Walker, Thomas & Karess, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 225 Pa. Super. Page 2]

In this appeal, we must decide whether the lower court erred in finding a Mexican divorce decree devoid of extraterritorial effect and adjudging appellant liable for the support of the wife-appellee in the amount of twenty dollars a month.

Loretta C. Sargent, the appellee, filed the instant action in support for herself and two children on March 2, 1972, in the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas. A full hearing was held before the Honorable Michael V. Franciosa on July 10, 1972. The following facts were adduced at this hearing:

Appellant and appellee were married on July 4, 1955. There were two children born of this marriage, both of whom have always resided with the appellee. Sometime between October 1, 1967 and October 16, 1967, the parties separated, appellee leaving the marital residence at 1033 North Ott Street in Allentown. On October 17, 1967, appellant left the residence and the State, and traveled to Mexico. On October 23, 1967, appellant instituted a suit for "Necessary Divorce against his wife in the First Civil Court of the Bravos District, State of Chihuahua, Republic of Mexico." Appellee was personally served with process on October 30, 1967 in Pennsylvania. She did not appear at the

[ 225 Pa. Super. Page 3]

    proceedings. On November 21, 1967, appellant obtained a decree in divorce from the Mexican court.

On November 19, 1967, appellant obtained employment at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Sunnyvale, California, where he took up residence. Appellant then traveled to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he visited with prospective in-laws and returned with Virginia Webster to Sunnyvale, where on December 9, 1967, Miss Webster and appellant were married. Appellant continued to reside with his second wife in Sunnyvale until May 30, 1969, at which time he was transferred to Lockheed's subsidiary, Lockheed Electronics, in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he has continued his employment to the present date. Appellant and his second wife moved to Stirling, New Jersey, where they lived until November, 1970. They then moved to 2712 Auburn Avenue in Easton, where they and two children born of this second marriage now live.

Appellee discovered appellant was living in California and promptly filed a support petition for herself and her two children. The California Superior Court, on August 1, 1968, ordered the appellant to pay $100.00 per month for the two children only, making no provision for the support of the first wife. The record discloses that appellant has faithfully made monthly payments through the California court, and is currently not in arrears.

When appellant moved, appellee filed a similar proceeding in New Jersey, which was dismissed without prejudice on May 24, 1971 for want of prosecution. The instant suit in the Northampton County Court resulted in an Order of the Court dated November 6, 1972. The order decreed that "the Mexican Divorce decree having been found devoid of extraterritorial effect for the reasons set forth . . . Defendant is adjudged liable ...


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