Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Philadelphia, No. 277819, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Maryann Tantala v. Richard Tantala.
Michael J. Pepe, Jr., for appellant.
Raymond J. Takiff, with him Baratta, Lisi & Takiff, for appellee.
Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J.
[ 236 Pa. Super. Page 117]
This matter is before us on appeal from a lower court order awarding the appellee-mother, Maryann Tantala, temporary visitation rights to her two minor children. The events giving rise to this appeal are as follows:
In July of 1972, the court below awarded custody of the children to the appellant-father, Richard Tantala. This same order also awarded certain visitation rights to the mother. Shortly after this order was entered the mother unlawfully took the children to Georgia. In proceedings not determinative here, the father secured the children's return to Pennsylvania. Subsequently, following
[ 236 Pa. Super. Page 118]
extensive evidentiary hearings, the lower court entered a new order on January 30, 1973, which permitted the mother to continue visiting her children provided she posted a bond and complied with certain other conditions.
On July 2, 1973, the father filed a petition requesting forfeiture of the bond and suspension of the mother's visitation privileges on the grounds that she had violated one of the conditions of the court order, and that her periodic visits were causing irreparable psychological damage to the children. The lower court, because of the serious nature of the allegations, temporarily suspended the mother's visitation privileges pending a hearing on the merits of the petition. In November, 1973, prior to the time of hearing on the father's petition, the mother countered with several petitions of her own requesting, inter alia, the return of her bond and the imposition of contempt sanctions on the father for his alleged noncompliance with the court order, and the reinstitution of visitation rights.
On October 30, 1974, at the completion of an extended evidentiary hearing on the father's petition relating to the mother's visitation rights and her alleged adverse affect on the children, the mother requested that the court vacate its order suspending her visitation rights and permit her to resume visiting her children pending a final disposition. The lower court granted the request and permitted the mother to visit her children in the court nursery on Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. It is from this order that the father's instant appeal is lodged.
Appellant's sole contention is that the court's order reinstituting temporary visitation rights to the mother was entered in violation of his constitutional right to due process of law. Specifically, he asserts that he was denied procedural due process because the court's order on visitation was entered following a hearing held for a different purpose ...