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MARILYN A. LEWIS v. RICHARD E. LEWIS (11/16/79)

filed: November 16, 1979.

MARILYN A. LEWIS, APPELLANT,
v.
RICHARD E. LEWIS, JR.



No. 439 April Term, 1977, Appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, Family Division, No. 3248 of 1975.

COUNSEL

Marilyn A. Lewis, in pro per.

Peter J. King, Pittsburgh, submitted a brief on behalf of appellee.

Shari F. Shink, Special Child Advocacy Counsel, David O'Hanesian, Chief Counsel, Pittsburgh (Mary Ray White, Spec. Counsel, Stephen J. Harhai, President, Nat. Ass'n. of Counsel for Children, Donald C. Bross, Staff Counsel, Nat. Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, Univ. of Colorado Medical Center at Denver, of counsel), for intervenors, Richard E. Lewis, III, and Colleen Lewis, two minor children.

Patricia P. Carlson, Pittsburgh, amici curiae for Lois Hayweiser, Spec. Consultant, Jo Ann Evans-Gardner, Council of Representatives, American Psychological Ass'n.

John F. Bradley, Pittsburgh, amicus curiae for Commission on Rights of Youth (CRY).

Price, Hester and Montgomery, JJ. Price, J., files a dissenting statement.

Author: Hester

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 521]

This is an appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which temporarily suspended the custody rights of appellee-father and directed the appellant-mother and her children to submit themselves to the Child Welfare Services of Allegheny County for counseling in an effort to re-establish the attachment between the appellee-father and his children.

Appellant contests that order and asserts that appellee's partial custody rights should have been permanently suspended. She also asserts that the court abused its discretion in ordering the children and her to undergo counseling and also in failing to have a court reporter for its in-camera examination of the children.

Appellant and appellee were married in 1964. This union produced two children, Richard born May 6, 1965 and Colleen born September 21, 1968. The parties separated on September 26, 1975 and a year later a complete divorce was granted.

After the divorce was granted, appellee filed a complaint for partial custody and a petition for reduction of support. After a hearing was held on November 22, 1976, the court reduced the appellee's monthly support obligation and granted appellee partial custody of the children on Sundays from 10 a. m. to 7 p. m. with additional provisions for holidays and vacations.

However, on Thanksgiving day, 1976, the appellant failed to deliver the children to the appellee. Thus, on December 3, 1976, after a petition presented by appellee, a rule was entered on appellant to show cause why she should not be

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 522]

    held in contempt for failure to obey the partial custody order.

After a hearing on December 17, 1976, the court entered the order now appealed from.

Initially, we consider appellants claim that temporary revocation of appellee's custody rights was improper. She argues that the weight of the evidence indicates that appellee should be permanently prevented from seeing his children.

It is beyond dispute that the sole issue to be decided in a custody proceeding between contending parties is the best interests and welfare of the child. Commonwealth ex rel. Spriggs v. Carson, 470 Pa. 290, 368 A.2d 635 (1977); ...


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