No. 1364 October Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County at No. 474, Civil Action, Law, November Term, 1976.
Thomas J. Jones, Scranton, for appellant.
Michael R. Shehadi, Throop, for appellee.
Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Price, J., files an opinion in support of affirmance in which Van der Voort, J., joins. Cercone, P. J., files an opinion in support of reversal. Spaeth, J., files an opinion in support of reversal. Jacobs and Watkins, former President Judges and Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
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The judges who heard this appeal being equally divided, the order and decree of the court below is affirmed.
PRICE, Judge, in support of affirmance:
This appeal arises from the granting of a decree in divorce to John A. Boniewicz, appellee, based upon indignities to the person. Appellee's complaint also asserted that he was subjected to cruel and barbarous treatment, but the lower court did not consider those grounds, instead basing its order only upon indignities. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm the decree.
We gather from a thorough reading of the record that the parties were married on June 23, 1973. The husband is 30 years of age and the wife is 37 years of age. No children were born of the union. Appellee testified that approximately
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three months after the marriage, financial problems began to surface. He testified that appellant opened numerous charge accounts, without appellee's authorization but apparently in his name, by forging his signature. There were two department store accounts, opened by appellee before the marriage, which appellant converted to alternate pay plans so that the maximum amount chargeable was increased. Appellee said that he did not know the conditions of the accounts, or in some cases even of their existence, because mail which came to the house was concealed from him. He usually learned of his shaky financial footing through telephone calls to his place of employment. Some of these calls were made by collection agencies to whom delinquent accounts were referred, and others were from individual creditors requesting payment and sometimes informing appellee that credit was being terminated. Appellee testified that one personal loan was taken out at the bank, also in appellee's name, but without his knowledge or approval.
When appellee confronted appellant about her financial indiscretions she simply called him "cheap." When appellee's attention was called to any delinquent accounts, he testified that he terminated the account, but that appellant would simply find a new source, finally enlarging her reach to small stores in neighboring communities.
Appellee also testified that, early in the marriage, money he gave to his wife for payment of bills never reached its proper destination. Often checks were returned for insufficient funds. Appellee testified that appellant endorsed and cashed his income tax refund check, and spent the proceeds, without his knowledge. It was appellee's contention that only two purchases on any of the various accounts, which he joined in early in the marriage, ever redounded to the joint benefit of the two parties, namely a television set and freezer. He contended that he did not know in what way other goods or ...