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SANDRA L. H. v. JOSEPH M. H. LANCE A. H. APPEAL JOSEPH M. H. (04/23/82)

filed: April 23, 1982.

SANDRA L. H.
v.
JOSEPH M. H. IN RE LANCE A. H. APPEAL OF JOSEPH M. H.



NOS. 176 and 177 HARRISBURG, 1980, Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division (Civil) of Adams County, Nos. 290 October 1977 and 80-S-247.

COUNSEL

Walton V. Davis, Gettysburg, for appellant.

John Eichlin, Clairon, for appellees.

Brosky, McEwen and Beck, JJ. Brosky, J., files a concurring opinion.

Author: Beck

[ 298 Pa. Super. Page 411]

This is an appeal from a final order awarding permanent custody of two minor children to their mother, from which the father appeals.

Appellant's claims of reversible error arise primarily from his view that greater weight should have been accorded the testimony of certain of appellant's witnesses; greater weight should have been accorded what appellant asserts to have been the clear preference of the younger child; and greater weight or a different interpretation should have been accorded the testimony of the treating psychiatrist called as witness for appellant. Finally, appellant claims that the admission into the record of a "Home Study Packet" prepared by a caseworker from the Children and Youth Services of the county of the mother's residence without verification and without opportunity for cross-examination is error requiring reversal.

TRIAL JUDGE'S TREATMENT OF THE TESTIMONY

Appellant cites G.M.P. vs. A.P., 280 Pa. Super. 372, 421 A.2d 769 (1980); Jones v. Floyd, 276 Pa. Super. 76, 419 A.2d 102 (1980) and Lewis v. Lewis, 267 Pa. Super. 235, 406 A.2d 781 (1979) and represents them as requiring the trial court in such cases to write an opinion which discusses all the evidence presented and which states why some is regarded as more persuasive. These cases do not require such an exhaustive opinion as urged by appellant. They do require that the trial judge "give us a thorough analysis of the record . . . ." Jones v. Floyd, 276 Pa. Super. at 80, 419 A.2d at 104. In addition, the opinion must deal with all "relevant factors" and "important facts." Commonwealth ex rel. Forrester v. Forrester, 258 Pa. Super. 397, 400, 392 A.2d 852, 854 (1978); Commonwealth ex rel. Grillo v. Shuster, 226 Pa. Super. 229, 237,

[ 298 Pa. Super. Page 412312]

A.2d 58, 63 (1973). This clearly does not require that the judge discuss the testimony of each witness or that citations to the transcript are required. What is required is an opinion which demonstrates that the trial judge has analyzed the record as a whole and has dealt with significant factual disputes in a manner which will enable the appellate courts to understand the reasons for the decision and to make an intelligent evaluation of the opinion and of the testimony. See, e.g., G.M.P. v. A.P., 280 Pa. Super. at 379, 421 A.2d at 772.

In the instant case, the trial judge has presented us with an opinion which reflects not only a thorough but a deeply concerned analysis of the record as a whole. This court has reviewed the record as a whole and finds that much of the testimony by the twenty-one witnesses heard in this case is summed up in the following language in the opinion of the trial judge:

The trial judge therefore limited his opinion to those factors which he considered important and relevant as weighing sufficiently to tip this balance in favor of an award of custody to the mother. We find that the record herein, taken as a whole, more than amply supports an award of custody to the mother. The preference of the younger child, asserted by appellant to be a preference to live with the father, is not unequivocally stated in the record of the case. Even had it been clearly stated to be as asserted by appellant, such a preference by a ten-year-old child, while certainly to be considered by the court, is clearly not ...


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