No. 680 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Civil Action-Law at No. 1845 Habeas Corpus Docket.
Wayne H. Port, Uniontown, for appellant.
Donald J. McCue, Connellsville, for appellee.
Spaeth, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ. Wickersham, J., files a concurring statement.
[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 207]
This is a child custody case. A court in Michigan entered an order specifying when and where the father could visit the child. The lower court modified the order. We hold that the lower court erred in two respects: it failed to file a comprehensive opinion stating, with reference to the evidence, the reasons for its modification of the Michigan court's order; and it failed to give the Michigan court's
[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 208]
order the effect required by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, Act of June 30, 1977, P.L. 29, No. 20, § 1 et seq., 11 P.S. § 2301 et seq. We shall therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings.
The parties were married on June 14, 1975, and lived in Detroit, Michigan. Their only child, Kelley Anne, was born on September 9, 1976. In March 1977 the mother and father separated, the mother moving with Kelley to Dunbar, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, the father remaining in Michigan. On June 14, 1977, the father filed an action in divorce in Michigan. On June 17, 1977, the Michigan court entered a temporary visitation order.
After encountering difficulty in enforcing the temporary visitation order, the father, in December 1977 and January 1978, asked the Michigan court to hold the mother in contempt. After a hearing, at which the mother was not present but was represented by counsel, the Michigan court on January 24, 1978, entered an order providing for the following visitation rights by the father:
1. The Plaintiff, EDWARD S. PIGGINS, JR., shall have the right to visitations with said minor child, on the dates and under the terms hereinafter set forth, and during said visitations the Plaintiff shall have the right to return with said child to the State of Michigan.
2. The visitations shall commence and terminate at the Terminal building at the Pittsburgh International Airport, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the following dates:
A. FIRST VISITATION: Commences on February 9th, 1978 at 12:00 Noon, and continues through 5:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 12th, 1978;
B. SECOND VISITATION: Commences on Thursday, April 20th, 1978 at 12:00 Noon, and continues through 5:00 P.M. on Sunday, April 23rd, 1978;
C. THIRD VISITATION: Commences on Saturday, July 1st, 1978 at 10:00 A.M. and continues through 5:00 P.M. on Wednesday, July 5th, 1978;
[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 209]
D. FOURTH VISITATION: Commences on Saturday, September 2nd, 1978 at 10:00 A.M. and continues through 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, September 5th, 1978; E. FIFTH VISITATION: Commences on Saturday, December 23rd, 1978 at 10:00 A.M. and continues through 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, December 26th, 1978;
3. If, because of illness of the minor child, Kelley Anne Piggins, the Defendant must cancel any scheduled visitation, verification by a medical Doctor shall be submitted to the Plaintiff, and said visitation shall be rescheduled for an equal period, within six weeks thereafter, and said rescheduled visitation shall commence on a date selected by the Plaintiff, EDWARD S. PIGGINS, Jr.
4. Cancellation of any scheduled visitation for any reason, by the Plaintiff, shall require immediate notice to the Defendant.
5. The DEFENDANT, CHRISTINE PIGGINS, shall also be required to pack the necessary clothing, personal affects and any medicine required by KELLEY ANNE during such visitation, and bring said items to the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport for the commencement of each such visit.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Plaintiff shall have such further reasonable rights to visitation with said minor child at such times and places as shall be mutually agreed upon with the Defendant.
The court also ordered that upon the mother's failure to comply with the visitation order, "the Support Order now pending in this cause shall be immediately terminated." When the mother continued in her failure to comply with the visitation order, the court, in February 1978, did terminate its order of support.
On June 9, 1978, the Michigan court entered a final decree divorcing the parties, incorporating in the decree a visitation order paralleling the court's earlier order. As in the earlier order, the mother was ordered to take Kelley to the Pittsburgh airport, and pick her up there after her visits, and the
[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 210]
father was given the right to return with Kelley to his home in Michigan; instead of five visits, as in the earlier order, four visits were provided, each from 12:00 noon Thursday through either 5:00 or 6:00 P.M. Sunday, on the first weekend in March, Father's Day weekend in June, the second weekend in September, and the third weekend in December.
Again, the mother refused to comply with the visitation order. Accordingly, on October 2, 1978, the father filed an action for habeas corpus in Fayette County. After hearings, on February 27 and 28, 1979, the lower court, on June 1, 1979, filed an opinion and an order modifying the visitation order of the Michigan court, as follows:
AND NOW, June 1, 1979, it is hereby ordered, directed and adjudicated that Petitioner, Edward S. Piggins, shall have the right to visitation with the minor child, Kelley Ann Piggins, based upon the following schedule and terms:
A. (1) Annually, a visit shall commence at 12:00 Noon on the first (1st) Thursday in the month of March, and shall continue through the following Sunday to 6:00 P.M.
(2) Annually, a visit shall commence at 12:00 Noon on the Thursday immediately preceding Father's Day in the month of June, and shall continue through Father's Day at 6:00 P.M.
(3) Annually, a visit shall commence at 12:00 Noon on the second (2nd) Thursday in the month of September, and shall continue through the following Sunday to 5:00 P.M.
(4) Annually, a visit shall commence at 12:00 Noon on the third (3rd) Thursday in the month of December, and shall continue through the following Sunday to 5:00 P.M.
B. The scheduled visits under A(1), A(2), and A(3) shall allow the Petitioner to take the minor child into his possession while visiting with said minor child, but he shall not be permitted to leave the general vicinity of Fayette County, Pennsylvania during said visitations
[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 211]
(overnight stays with the child are specifically permitted so long as reasonable accommodations are provided).
C. The scheduled visit pursuant to A(4) shall be in accordance with the following terms:
(1) Respondent shall accompany Kelley Ann to Michigan, with the arrival time and place to be reasonably agreed upon between the parties so as to allow Petitioner to take possession ...