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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. PLATT v. PLATT (04/03/74)

decided: April 3, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. PLATT
v.
PLATT, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Philadelphia, Jan. T., 1972, No. 264, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Joanne T. Platt v. William Platt.

COUNSEL

Sidney M. DeAngelis, with him Bean, DeAngelis, Kaufman & Kane, for appellant.

Joseph T. Kelley, Jr., with him Gallagher and Kelley, for appellee.

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

Author: Watkins

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 424]

This is an appeal from an order of support of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.

William Platt, the defendant-appellant, and Joanne Platt, the plaintiff-appellee, were married in 1948. One child was born of the marriage, a daughter, Andrea, in 1952. They were married and resided in New Jersey and were divorced in New Jersey on April 24, 1961. The decree of divorce incorporated a property settlement agreement which provided for alimony for the appellee of $60.00 per week and support of the child, Andrea, at the rate of $40.00 weekly.

In December, 1970, the appellant ceased paying the $40.00 weekly for Andrea as she became 18 years of age. The appellant then went to the New Jersey Court seeking contribution for Andrea's college education. She had enrolled at the American University in Washington, D. C. The New Jersey Court directed the appellant to continue to pay $40.00 weekly for the support of Andrea and to pay $1000.00 per year toward college expenses. The appellant complied with this order and discontinued the $60.00 per week for the appellee. The appellant had moved to Philadelphia, was remarried and has three children as the result of the second marriage.

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 425]

On January 18, 1972, the appellee filed a proceeding in New Jersey under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act seeking to have her $60.00 payment of alimony enforced and seeking a new court order for Andrea. On February 8, 1973, after a hearing, the Philadelphia court below ordered the appellant to pay $100.00 per week for the support of Andrea.

The appellant is employed as a sales manager and has total earnings of $32,000.00 per year. The appellee is employed and has a gross income of $17,000.00 per year. Andrea is a 20 year old college student who attends school 27 weeks a year. Her total expenses for college including tuition, room, board and books amounts to $4245.00 per year. Andrea works for the Atlantic City Press when she is not attending college for which she receives $75.00 per week or approximately $1875.00.

The purpose of support statutes is not to create new rights but to provide a procedure for enforcing existing rights. In Pennsylvania there is no duty of support owed to a divorced wife by a former husband. Commonwealth ex rel. Jones v. Jones, 216 Pa. Superior Ct. 1, 260 A.2d 809 (1969); Commonwealth ex rel. Bortin v. Bortin, 210 Pa. Superior Ct. 355, 234 A.2d 55 (1967).

In a proceeding brought in a responding state under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, Pennsylvania will not recognize a foreign court order so far as it pertains to alimony for the wife. The proper remedy for the wife in such a case would be to begin an action in assumpsit in Pennsylvania since the husband's duty to pay ...


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