Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, March T., 1970, No. F-16-200, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Sandra L. McNulty v. James C. McNulty.
Charles F. Mayer, for appellant.
Anna I. Vadino, Assistant District Attorney, with her Ralph B. D'Iorio, Assistant District Attorney, and Stephen J. McEwen, Jr., District Attorney, for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.
[ 226 Pa. Super. Page 248]
This appeal is from the Order of the lower court denying appellant's petition for reduction of his support order for his wife and two children.
On January 8, 1970, the wife-appellee petitioned for support for herself and two children, ages two and five. By consent agreement dated August 19, 1970, appellant agreed to pay the sum of $50.00 per week ($20.00 for the wife; $15.00 for each child), together with the payment of all expenses for the jointly-owned residence. On June 19, 1972, appellant filed a Petition and Rule to modify and reduce the support order. After a two-day hearing before the Honorable Joseph W. deFuria, the petition for reduction was dismissed.
Basically, appellant contends that the trial court erred in refusing to modify the $50.00 per week order where his earnings were less than $60.00 per week. In support of his petition, appellant testified that he had previously worked for Boeing-Vertol as a sheet metal mechanic, earning $155.00 per week. Beginning in 1970, as a result of a cutback in government contracts, Boeing-Vertol began "laying off" a major portion of its work force (from 13,000 to 4,700 employees). In November 1970, anticipating his forthcoming release, appellant resigned from his position and obtained a job as a part-time bartender earning wages of $56.88 per week and $3.00 to $4.00 in tips.
Appellant further contended that a "change in circumstances" warranting a modification in the support order was demonstrated by the fact that appellee, since the date of the consent agreement, had obtained employment and was earning $95.00 a week.
Appellee testified that while her earnings were $95.00 a week her expenses for baby-sitting, transportation
[ 226 Pa. Super. Page 249]
and other work-related expenditures effectively reduced her earnings to approximately $52.00 a week. This amount, she argued, was needed to pay the mortgage payments and maintenance expenses which appellant had ceased paying since obtaining his new position.
At the conclusion of the hearings, Judge deFuria denied appellant's petition, saying that his decision was based primarily on the fact that appellant's testimony was not credible. On the other hand, Judge deFuria felt that appellee was credible and that her opposition to the modification petition was well-founded. In arriving at the decision, the trial court believed the following evidence to be illustrative of appellant's unbelievable story: (1) appellant voluntarily terminated his employment with Boeing-Vertol, where he was earning $155.00 per week, despite the fact that his layoff would not have occurred until nearly a year later; (2) appellant ostensibly accepted a part-time job as a bartender, earning less than $60.00 per week; (3) appellant owned a new automobile, which he claimed his new employer purchased for him for use in the business; (4) appellant testified that after searching for a long period of time for a job, the only job he could find was that of a ...