No. 258 January Term, 1979, Appeal from Judgment of the Superior Court at Nos. 579 and 580 October Term, 1978, affirming Orders of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division - Law, of Lehigh County, at No. 77-1795
Thomas F. Traud, Jr., Allentown, for Robert W. Everson.
Wallace H. Webster, Schnecksville, for Walter A. Everson.
Harry A. Dower, Allentown, for appellee.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.
On March 31, 1977, the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas entered judgment in the amount of $596,628.02 plus interest and costs in favor of appellee, Rosanne P. Everson, and against her former husband, appellant, Robert W. Everson,
upon receipt of an exemplified copy of a judgment in the same amount from the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, dated January 25, 1977. The Lehigh County court acted pursuant to authority contained in the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act,*fn1 which provides that a foreign judgment properly filed shall have the same status as a judgment of a court of common pleas of this Commonwealth and may be enforced or satisfied in the same manner.
On April 1, 1977, a writ of attachment execution issued on appellant's interest in trust property located in Lehigh County. Interrogatories were served upon various garnishees, principally Robert Everson's father, appellant, Walter A. Everson, as trustee of a testamentary trust created by appellant's mother primarily for the benefit of her two sons and consisting of stock in Everson Electric Company. Appellant requested a stay of execution based on the fact that he had filed an appeal from the Arizona judgment. The requested stay was denied inasmuch as he had failed to post the necessary bond to stay proceedings in Arizona.*fn2 Appellant then filed a motion to strike the Lehigh County judgment which the court denied on November 29, 1977. On the same date the court entered judgment on the pleadings against Walter Everson as garnishee "in the sum of $596,628.02, plus interest from March 31, 1977, to the extent that
such sum may become payable out of the share or interest of Robert W. Everson in the Estate of Louise Everson, deceased, as such interest or share shall in due course be determined by the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County." The orders of the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas were affirmed by the Superior Court and we granted the appellant's petition for allowance of appeal.
Rosanne P. Everson and Robert W. Everson, residents of Arizona, were married on August 9, 1962. They separated nine years later and were divorced on October 10, 1973, pursuant to a decree of the Maricopa County Superior Court which ordered dissolution of the marriage and distribution of the couple's community property.*fn3 That decree provided, inter alia, as follows:
"That the Court finds that the Plaintiff [Rosanne P. Everson] has sustained the burden of proving that all assets as shown on the Statement of Assets dated January 11, 1973, as of June 30, 1972, prepared by Arthur Anderson & Co., which was admitted in evidence as Exhibit No. 39, (with the exception of the trust of Everson Electric Co. stock) are community property of the parties and that the Defendant [Robert W. Everson] has wholly failed to rebut said evidence or to overcome the presumption of the same being community property." (emphasis added)
Based on the above finding, the court awarded a fifty percent (50%) interest in said assets to Rosanne Everson and confirmed that interest as her sole and separate property. As to Robert Everson, the decree provided:
"5. That the Defendant, Robert W. Everson, is awarded and confirmed as his sole and separate property the remaining fifty percent (50%) interest in said assets and 6250 ...