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CAROL H. JOSEPH v. JAMES H. JOSEPH (09/27/76)

decided: September 27, 1976.

CAROL H. JOSEPH
v.
JAMES H. JOSEPH, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



COUNSEL

Donald S. Hershman, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 179]

This case arises on appeals from two orders of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Allegheny County. The first order dated July 15, 1974, directed appellant to pay $750 per month for the support of appellee and their three children and to pay $1,800 in arrearages under a prior order. Appellant's first appeal is directed to that portion of the order which directs payment of $1,800 in arrearages.

The second order dated October 17, 1974, adjudicated appellant to be in contempt of court and remanded him to the custody of the warden of the Allegheny County jail for an unconditional two-month term. An appeal was immediately taken to this court and a supersedeas was granted on October 21, 1974.

For reasons hereinafter explained, we find that the lower court was in error in including the $1,800 arrearage

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 180]

    item in its order of July 15, and the contempt order is reversed because it does not include the terms by which appellant may purge himself of his contempt.

The case started in the Family Division of the court below on January 19, 1973, pursuant to receipt of a certificate and complaint under the Uniform Support Law from the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County. The complaint alleged that appellant and appellee were married on December 17, 1966, in St. Louis, Missouri, and separated December 13, 1972, with three children born of that marriage, and demanded that appellant pay the sum of $750 per month for the support of his wife and children.

On February 6, 1973, after hearing, an order was entered by the court below directing the appellant to pay the sum of $200 per month as well as mortgage payments in the amount of approximately $300 per month, approximately $100 a month for utilities and necessary and reasonable medical and dental expenses.

On January 4, 1974, a petition was filed by appellee to collect arrearages and to increase the amount of support provided for in the order of February 6, 1973. Due to a variety of circumstances, a hearing was not held on the petition until April 29, 1974, at which time testimony was taken by the court.

On July 15, 1974, the court below entered an order directing the appellant to pay $750 per month for the support of appellee and their three children and to pay $1,800 in arrearages. Appellant's first appeal is directed to the arrearage item in this order.

On August 23, 1974, a rule was issued returnable on September 9, 1974, for a hearing on alleged arrearages in appellant's compliance with the order of July 15. A hearing on that rule was held on September 19, 1974, and testimony taken. On that same day, a ...


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