No. 132 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Order dated November 21, 1979, of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Civil Division - Beaver County, at No. 2230 of 1979, In Divorce.
Richard L. Jacobs, Beaver Falls, for appellant.
Gilbert Ray Sellers, in pro. per.
Cercone, President Judge, and Shertz and Wieand, JJ.
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 267]
Appellant, Karen Lee Sellers, filed a petition with the lower court in which she sought to be relieved of the costs of an action in divorce pursuant to Rule 1137, Pa.R.Civ.P.*fn1 The lower court issued an Order, granting in part and denying in part, the request to proceed in forma pauperis.*fn2 From that Order Appellant took the instant appeal in which she asserts the lower court abused its discretion in its failure to relieve her fully of the divorce costs. We agree with this assertion.
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 268]
The facts of this case may be briefly summarized.*fn3 Appellant, who is the mother of two minor children for whom she receives no support from her husband, has income in the amount of $294 per month from public assistance. Her petition set forth monthly expenses amounting to $288.50.*fn4 In addition, the petition avers that she owns no real property, no personal property of significant value, no stocks, bonds, or savings accounts.
At the time of the hearing held in this matter, Appellant had been separated from her husband for approximately three months. She testified to the fact that she had relatives living nearby but that her husband had moved to Ohio. Finally, she stated she could not afford the costs of a divorce.
The lower court has considerable discretion in examining a petition to determine indigency, Moskol v. Moskol, 247 Pa. Super.Ct. 181, 371 A.2d 1387 (1977), and this Court will not reverse absent an abuse of same. Id., 247 Pa. Super. at 183, 371 A.2d at 1389. Moreover, the mere filing of a petition
does not automatically establish the petitioner's right to proceed in forma pauperis. "Rule 1137 provides that the court must satisfy itself of the truth of the averment of inability to pay made in the petition before ordering that the petitioner may proceed by paying reduced costs or no costs."
Nicholson v. Nicholson, 247 Pa. Super.Ct. 172, 175, 371 A.2d 1383, 1384 (1977) (citations omitted). One who seeks to be relieved of costs under ...