No. 1843 October Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division Equity, dismissing Exceptions and entering a final decree, Dated March 3, 1977 at 4438 July Term, 1973.
Irwin Paul, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Norman A. Oshtry and Judith S. Eden, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
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Michael Damirgian (Appellant) appeals to this Court from a final decree in equity ordering that he pay to Regina
[ 262 Pa. Super. Page 465]
Damirgian (Appellee) $27,364.59 plus interest, that he account to her for the remaining funds in their joint bank accounts, and that those funds be divided equally between them. Appellant raises two issues in this appeal: whether the lower court erred in ordering the payment of the funds to appellee and whether the lower court erred in conducting a unitary rather than a bifurcated proceeding before ordering the accounting and the payment of the funds. We affirm the order of the lower court.
The facts, as found by the Chancellor and supported by the evidence, are as follows: Appellant and appellee are husband and wife. During their marriage and prior to May 1, 1972, they owned several savings accounts and savings certificates as tenants by the entireties.*fn1 Prior to May, 1972,
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the passbooks and certificates pertaining to the jointly held property were kept in an unlocked desk drawer in an office in the Damirgians' home. On May 5, 1972, appellee looked in the desk drawer for the passbooks and certificates and found them missing. Several times over the next two weeks, appellee asked appellant where they were located but he refused to tell her. In fact, the passbooks were in the glove compartment of appellant's truck located on the Damirgians' property and the savings certificates were in a steel box in a closet in the office. The steel box was locked and appellant did not have a key which would open it.
On May 19, 1972, appellee took their four children and some personal belongings and left the marital home. On the same day, she withdrew $2200.00 from a checking account held in appellant's name only at the Cheltenham National Bank, and $300.00 from a checking account held in both of their names at the same bank. Between May 22, 1972 and June 22, 1972, appellant withdrew over $59,000.00 from the savings accounts and savings certificates held by the parties as tenants by the entireties.
On August 31, 1973, appellee instituted a suit in equity seeking an accounting of the monies withdrawn from the various savings accounts and savings certificates, one-half of all the funds so withdrawn, and one-half of the funds remaining in said accounts. Following a hearing, Judge STERN concluded as a matter of law that appellant's appropriation of the jointly held funds was an offer of an agreement to destroy the estate by the entireties which was accepted by appellee when she instituted this equity action. He further concluded that appellee was not authorized to withdraw the $2200.00 from appellant's solely owned checking account, but that she was justified in withdrawing the ...