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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. JOANNE BUCHAKJIAN v. LEON BUCHAKJIAN (04/30/82)

filed: April 30, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. JOANNE BUCHAKJIAN,
v.
LEON BUCHAKJIAN, APPELLANT



No. 440 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division of Delaware County at No. F-28-703 of 1978.

COUNSEL

Saul Levitt, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Stanley R. Kotzen, Media, for appellee.

Spaeth, Cavanaugh and Lipez, JJ. Cavanaugh, J., files a dissenting statement.

Author: Spaeth

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 215]

This is an appeal from an order directing a husband to support his wife and children. The husband argues that the lower court erred in admitting and considering hearsay evidence.*fn1 We agree and therefore reverse and remand for a new hearing.

Leon and Joanne Buchakjian were married on June 10, 1956, and separated on November 13, 1978. They have three children: Maria, born April 19, 1959; Levon, born April 7, 1961; and Charles, born June 20, 1964. On January 4, 1979, the lower court, with the agreement of the parties, entered an order directing the husband to pay $300 a week to support his wife and the three children. On June 28, 1979, the husband filed a petition to reduce the order, alleging that since the time of the order, "Petitioner's heating oil business has declined drastically and Petitioner has experienced a substantial loss of income," and that his son Levon had reached the age of 18. The wife filed an answer and a cross-petition to increase the order, alleging that the husband's earnings and her expenses and the children's had increased. On December 6, 1979, the lower court held a hearing, and on January 23, 1980, it entered an order reducing the original order; the husband was directed to pay $250 a week to support his wife and his children Maria and Charles, and Levon was removed from the original order. The court also denied the wife's cross-petition to increase support. The husband has appealed.

We will not disturb the lower court's decision on a petition to reduce support unless the court has abused its discretion. Commonwealth ex rel. Jeske v. Jeske, 283 Pa. Superior Ct. 209, 423 A.2d 1063 (1981); Berry v. Berry, 278 Pa. Superior Ct. 30, 419 A.2d 1340 (1980); Commonwealth ex rel. Mainzer v. Audi, 266 Pa. Superior Ct. 122, 403 A.2d 124 (1979). An abuse of discretion occurs where the lower court misapplies existing law, makes a manifestly unreasonable judgment, or rules with partiality, prejudice or ill will.

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 216]

MR. KOTZEN: Names and places of customers of Leon's Heat and Fuel who no longer are customers of Leon's Heat and Fuel, date, time and place.

A. First of all the two churches that were dropped, Saint [ILLEGIBLE WORDS] Church in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, which is only a stone's throw from our home for no reason at all.

Q. Who did you speak to there?

A. They pay their bills.

MR. LEVIT: Objection. He asked a question who she spoke to.

THE WITNESS: You didn't give me a chance.

THE COURT: Let her answer the question. Do you object to all this testimony and I grant you an exception. You have an exception to her testimony with reference to referring to certain accounts which she alleges were part of the business and which he of his own volition dropped from his account. That is the purpose. I grant you an exception.

MR. LEVIT: Then I will stop hopping up and down.

THE COURT: You may hop up and down whenever you want.

THE WITNESS: May I start?

BY MR. KOTZEN:

Q. I think ...


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