Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Domestic Relations Division, at No. 553, October Term, 1973.
Joyce Ullman, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Michael H. Hynes and Egan, Bowen & Hynes, Willow Grove, for appellee.
Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.
[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 460]
This is a support case. In December 1973, an agreed order was entered whereby appellant agreed to pay support of $90 per week -- one half for the support of his wife, Mary Jo, who is appellee, and one half for the support of their son, Christian. On August 2, 1974 by agreement of the parties, the order was modified to provide for the payment of $40 per week for the support of Christian; the provision for the support of appellee was eliminated. Appellant did not make all of the payments called for by this modified order, and on July 14, 1975, he filed a petition asking that the order be reduced, and that arrearages be remitted. The lower court denied the petition, and this appeal followed.
At a hearing on the petition held on February 10, 1976, the witnesses testified to the following effect. When the modified order was entered, in August 1974, appellant was employed at Kras Corporation and had a gross income of
[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 461]
$9,903. On January 17, 1975, he was laid off, and for the next 27 weeks he received $112. per week as unemployment compensation. He then worked as a salesman for an insurance company, earning a total of $1,082. In November 1975, appellant returned to his old job at Kras Corporation. He earns approximately $190 per week ($148 net), and in 1975 his gross income was $6,133. When the modified order was entered, appellee was unemployed. However, one month later, in September 1974, she began employment with the Prudential Insurance Company, where she earns $131 per week.*fn1
Appellant contends that appellee's employment constituted a change of circumstances that should have led the hearing judge to modify the order. An order may be modified upon proof that circumstances have materially changed since the entry of the original order. Bell v. Bell, 228 Pa. Super. 280, 323 A.2d 267 (1974); Commonwealth ex rel. Naselsky v. Naselsky, 199 Pa. Super. 270, 184 A.2d 288 (1962). However, we will not interfere with the hearing judge's decision unless there has been an abuse of discretion. Costello v. LeNoir, 462 Pa. 36, 337 A.2d 866 (1975); Bell v. Bell, supra; Marvin v. Marvin, 193 Pa. Super. 179, 164 A.2d 128 (1960).
In his opinion the hearing judge listed appellant's expenses, and remarked that at the time of the prior order appellant was living with his parents, but that he had moved out and was paying $1,500 annual rent. The judge went on to note that Christian, who is now seven years old, is still in need of maternal care, and quoted with ...