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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. CHARLENE R. WHEELER v. JOHN R. WHEELER (01/18/80)

filed: January 18, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. CHARLENE R. WHEELER
v.
JOHN R. WHEELER, APPELLANT



No. 3 March Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, No. 38 - Support Division 1975.

COUNSEL

Robert B. Lieberman, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Richard W. Cleckner, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Spaeth, Hester and Cavanaugh, JJ. Spaeth, J., concurs in result only.

Author: Cavanaugh

[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 479]

The facts in this case, which are not in dispute, are as follows: Appellant and appellee were husband and wife and were divorced in April of 1960. The parties to this action had a son, Mark Rutherford Wheeler, who was born on June 16, 1959. From about 1961 through 1974 appellant contributed the sum of $65.00 monthly for the support of his child. In December, 1974, appellee filed a petition for support in Dauphin County under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (1968), (62 P.S. ยง 2043.1 et seq., as amended.) At that time appellant was a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy and was serving on a United States warship. His address was New York City, New York. The appellant was not given notice of the petition for support, and he did not attend the support hearing which was held on December 19, 1974. At the hearing of December 19, 1974, Judge Wickersham entered a support order in the amount of $30.00 per week for the support of appellant's son. A certified copy of the support order together with the notes

[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 480]

    of testimony were sent to the appellant and his commanding officer on the USS Independent, the ship on which appellant was serving at the time. At the hearing, Judge Wickersham stated:

"We will request the voluntary cooperation of Commander Wheeler and his commanding officer in complying with this order of court. If such cooperation is not forthcoming, then of course we will take all other appropriate steps available to us to enforce the order through the various channels available to us.

"If Commander Wheeler should determine that this order is excessive in view of his earnings or for any other reason desires to be heard by the court, he may notify the court and we will grant him an immediate hearing in this courtroom."

Appellant did not request a hearing before the court or in any way object to the entry of the order of December 19, 1974. Commencing on February 5, 1975, and continuing until June, 1977, appellant made monthly payments through the court of Dauphin County.

In March, 1977, appellee filed a second petition for support with the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County. On March 30, 1977, Judge Morgan of Dauphin County signed an order determining that the Court of Virginia Beach, Virginia, had jurisdiction over appellant and directed that a copy of the petition and order be forwarded to the appropriate court in Virginia Beach, Virginia, under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, supra. On April 26, 1977, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court of the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, ordered the appellant to make payments on account of child support based upon the Dauphin County order of December 19, 1974. Appellant continued to make monthly payments to the Domestic Relations Office in Dauphin County.

On August 18, 1977, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court of Virginia Beach, Virginia, relieved appellant of his responsibility for child support because his son had ...


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