Appeal from the Per Curiam Order of July 31, 1975, of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Civil Division, at No. 409 May Term, 1974. No. 66 April Term, 1976.
Robert M. Brenner, Timothy Hennessy, Washington, for appellant.
John Solomon, Washington, for appellee.
Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Jacobs, J., joins in this opinion as well as the concurring opinion below. Hoffman, J., concurs in the result of this opinion as well as that of the concurring opinion below. Spaeth, J., files a concurring opinion in which Jacobs, J., joins and in which Hoffman, J., concurs in the result.
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On June 13, 1974, appellant Donna Lynne Milligan filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to recover
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custody of her son Bryan from appellees Frank E. Davison and his wife, Vivian. Hearings were held on the petition on July 12 and August 20, 1974. On August 20, 1974, the trial court dismissed the petition and that order was affirmed by the court en banc on August 1, 1975.
The testimony at the hearings established that the appellees became involved with Bryan in August or September, 1973, when appellant was injured in a motorcyle accident. Unable to care properly for Bryan, appellant asked the appellees to take Bryan into their home.*fn1 Appellant expected this arrangment to last for one weekend, but when she returned to the appellees' home, she agreed to allow them to retain custody of Bryan as long as she, appellant, would be permitted to visit Bryan when she desired. On one occasion, the appellees refused to allow the mother to see her son, and it was that action that precipitated the present dispute.
The fact-finding function, of course, is for the lower court. However, our scope of review in custody matters is very broad, Commonwealth ex rel. Ulmer v. Ulmer, 231 Pa. Super. 144, 331 A.2d 665 (1974); Commonwealth ex rel. Bowser v. Bowser, 224 Pa. Super. 1, 302 A.2d 450 (1973), and we must be able to conclude that the findings of the lower court are supported by competent evidence. Commonwealth ex rel. Myers v. Myers, 468 Pa. 134, 360 A.2d 587 (1976). The polestar in a custody proceeding is the best interests of the child. Davidyan v. Davidyan, 230 Pa. Super. 599, 327 A.2d 145 (1974). In order to determine whether the best interests of the child have been served, we must have a complete record. Gunter v. Gunter, 240 Pa. Super. 382, 361 A.2d 307 (1976); Augustine v. Augustine, 228 Pa. Super. 312,
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A.2d 477 (1974); Commonwealth ex rel. Grillo v. Shuster, 226 Pa. Super. 229, 312 A.2d 58 (1973).
At the time of the hearings in this case, appellant was seventeen years old, unmarried, and the mother of three children. Although, at one time, appellant had been receiving social security, it appears that at the time of the ...