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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SCHULBERG v. HIRSCH (09/22/75)

decided: September 22, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SCHULBERG
v.
HIRSCH, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Allegheny County, No. 1141 of 1968, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Harriet Schulberg v. Zola Hirsch.

COUNSEL

James L. Weisman, with him Friedman, Weisman, Passafiume, Swartz and Trimm, for appellant.

No appearance entered nor brief submitted for appellee.

Watkins, P.j., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Price, J.

Author: Price

[ 236 Pa. Super. Page 180]

This is an appeal from an order refusing to suspend the support obligation of appellant, Zola Hirsch, toward his twenty-one-year-old son, Gary.

The facts reveal that the parties to the action were formerly husband and wife, parents of Gary and an older

[ 236 Pa. Super. Page 181]

    daughter.*fn1 Gary became 21 on April 24, 1974. On July 19, 1974, appellant filed a rule to show cause why his support obligation should not be suspended. An ex parte hearing was held before Judge Finkelhor on July 31, 1974, at which, on the advice of a Family Division Counselor that such a suspension was "routine," appellant represented himself. His petition was denied without opinion.

Appellant then obtained counsel, who filed a petition for a rehearing. The petition was granted and the case listed for hearing on August 26, 1974, before Judge Sparvero. At that ex parte hearing, appellant testified that his son had attained age 21 years on April 24, 1974, that he had not seen his son for 9 years, and that he believed his son was in college in Florida. His belief was based upon an unverified letter, not of record, written by his former wife to a caseworker. Appellant further stated that he had stopped making support payments when his son became 21 years of age but because the Family Division Counselor told him he would have to obtain a court order releasing him from that obligation, he instituted the present action.

His petition was again denied, and appellant was ordered to continue to pay $75.00 per month support as long as his son attended Florida State University. This appeal followed.

Preliminarily, we are compelled to criticize the method by which this case came before us. Before the August 26, 1974, hearing was held, Judge Sparvero questioned the propriety of holding a second hearing before a judge other than Judge Finkelhor, who had initially heard the case. However, he ordered the case to proceed so as to comply with the order granting the rehearing petition. We agree ...


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