No. 94 Harrisburg, 1980, APPEAL FROM THE ORDER OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF DAUPHIN COUNTY, CIVIL DIVISION, NO. 5336 S1978
Judy Shopp Smith, Harrisburg, for appellant.
Jay R. Braderman, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Price, Johnson and Shertz, JJ. Price, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 62]
This is an appeal from an Order expanding the parental visitation rights of Appellee, Joseph A. Stuck, with his two minor daughters. The lower court concluded that the best interests of the children would be served by allowing Appellee to spend additional time with them. We agree and therefore affirm.
Patricia E. Stuck, Appellant, and Joseph A. Stuck, who are divorced, are the natural parents of Yvette and Ashleigh Stuck.*fn1 On May 17, 1979, the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County entered an Order awarding custody of the children to the mother and granting custodial visitation to the father. Neither parent took an appeal from the Order.
Thereafter, Appellee petitioned the court for an expansion of his visitation rights. Two hearings were held during which both parents, three psychologists, the paternal grandmother, and two neighbors testified. The testimony centered around the present and future emotional and psychological well-being of Yvette and Ashleigh.
The hearing judge also interviewed Yvette in chambers in the presence of counsel. Her testimony, which was transcribed and is part of the record, revealed that she preferred to have no contact with her father and objected to visiting him at all. There was testimony that Ashleigh, too, had begun to express objections to visiting her father.
After evaluating all the testimony, the hearing judge issued an Order on April 7, 1980, which slightly expanded Appellee's visitation rights by adding, inter alia, a weekly three-hour weeknight visitation and an extra week during the summer. In his Opinion in support of the Order, the
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 63]
hearing judge analyzed the testimony and set forth in detail the reasons for his decision.
Pennsylvania courts have traditionally applied custody principles to matters involving visitation rights. See, Morris v. Morris, 271 Pa. Super. 19, 412 A.2d 139 (1979); Commonwealth ex rel. Stayko v. Stayko, 267 Pa. Super. 24, 405 A.2d 1284 (1979); Spells v. Spells, 250 Pa. Super. 168, 378 A.2d ...