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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. FANNY HARTRANFT v. DAVID HARTRANFT. APPEAL FANNY HARTRANFT (06/08/79)

decided: June 8, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. FANNY HARTRANFT
v.
DAVID HARTRANFT. APPEAL OF FANNY HARTRANFT



No. 1778 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, Domestic Relations Division dated May 4, 1978 at No. 184-1978.

COUNSEL

Wardell F. Steigerwalt, Allentown, for appellant.

James L. Reich, Allentown, for appellee.

Van der Voort, Hester and Wieand, JJ. Wieand, J., files a dissenting statement.

Author: Hester

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 573]

Before the court is appellant-mother's appeal from the order*fn1 of the lower court which directed appellee-father "to pay the sum of $25.00 per week, all in excess of $20.00 per

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 574]

    week to apply on the arrears towards the support of two (2) children, effective March 13, 1978." Although somewhat ambiguous, it appears that the lower court's order for the support of his two children is $20.00 per week.

Appellant contends that "the support order was so shockingly inadequate as to evince a clear abuse of discretion." (Appellant's brief, p. 6)

We agree. An order equivalent to $10.00 per week for the support of each of two minor children under the facts and circumstances in the case at bar is grossly inadequate and constitutes an abuse of discretion by the lower court.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination as to whether the order of support can be sustained on any valid ground. Marvin v. Marvin, 193 Pa. Super. 179, 164 A.2d 128 (1960). We must determine whether there was sufficient evidence to sustain the lower court or contrariwise whether the lower court was guilty of an abuse of discretion. A finding of abuse of discretion is not lightly made; but only upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence. Com. ex rel. McQuiddy v. McQuiddy, 238 Pa. Super. 390, 358 A.2d 102 (1976); Com. ex rel. Caplan v. Caplan, 236 Pa. Super. 605, 346 A.2d 822 (1975); Com. ex rel. Halderman v. Halderman, 230 Pa. Super. 125, 326 A.2d 908 (1974).

In reviewing the lower court's action to determine whether an abuse of discretion has occurred, we recognize that "'[a]n abuse of discretion is not merely an error of judgment, but if in reaching a conclusion the law is overridden or misapplied, or the judgment exercised is manifestly unreasonable, or the result of partiality, prejudice, bias or ill-will, as shown by the evidence or the record, discretion is abused.'" Com. ex rel. Levy v. Levy, 240 Pa. Super. 168, 174, 361 A.2d 781, 785 (1976).

The salient facts of the instant matter can be summarized as follows: Appellee is the father ...


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