No. 212 Harrisburg, 1980, Appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Action-Law, of Franklin County, No. F R 1980-443.
Chris F. Gillotti, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert Raphael, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Hester, Johnson and Montemuro, JJ.
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 181]
Presently before the court is appellant's appeal from the Order of the lower court dated October 16, 1980, wherein general custody of the two minor children was awarded to appellee-mother, while specific visitation rights were awarded to appellant-father.*fn1 Following the denial of appellant's petition for reconsideration, this appeal followed.
The instant custody proceeding was initiated by appellant's filing of a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The hearing in this matter spanned three full days, July 10, July 17, and July 18, 1980 during which proceeding, 15 witnesses, including an in-camera interview with the two minor children, were heard. In addition thereto, pursuant to court order, a court-appointed psychologist met and interviewed all four persons (appellant-father, appellee-mother, and the two minor children) on June 13, 1980. That psychologist,
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 182]
James W. Nutter, Ed.D., filed a report including his recommendations concerning general custody; Dr. Nutter also personally testified.
The parties hereto were married on May 1, 1971 and divorced on December 28, 1979. The two minor children who are the subject of this custody proceeding were born of the marriage: James M. Chaklos, on July 18, 1973; and Debra Lynn Chaklos, on November 4, 1974. Following marriage, the parties initially resided in an apartment in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania until June of 1975. At that approximate time, appellant graduated from Dental School and accepted employment with Lehman Associates in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The parties moved to Chambersburg where they bought a townhouse at 743 Cumberland Avenue. Due to the fact that appellant had to retake a portion of his Dental Boards, he did not commence his employment with Lehman Associates with offices in Chambersburg and McConnellsburg, until September of 1975 (between June and September, appellant completed a one-month active tour of duty with the Army Reserves in the State of Texas). Following his one-year employment with Lehman Associates, appellant opened his own dental practice in Adams County, Pennsylvania and commuted thereto from the parties' home in Chambersburg. It was at this time that the relationship between the parties deteriorated dramatically, culminating in a violent argument in the early morning hours of November 8, 1978, which caused appellee to flee the next day to her parents' home at Ridgeway, Elk County, Pennsylvania, with their two children. After both parties engaged counsel, the parties entered into a Stipulation on December 8, 1978 granting general custody of the children to the appellee and awarding partial custody on alternate weekends to the appellant. In the interim, (January of 1979) appellant moved to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Appellee finally moved back to the parties' marital residence with the children in December of 1979.
During that one year period (December, 1978 through December, 1979) appellant exercised his alternating weekend partial ...