NO. 274 Harrisburg 1983, Appeal from the Order, dated June 17, 1983 of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Filed to No. 1646-S, 1982.
William J. Fulton, Harrisburg, for appellant.
Arthur K. Dils, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Wickersham, Del Sole and Montemuro, JJ. Montemuro, J., concurred in the result.
[ 327 Pa. Super. Page 46]
Appellant and Appellee were married on February 15, 1979, but prior to their marriage, a son, McKenzie, was born to them on October 30, 1977.
Appellee also has another son, approximately eleven years of age, who has not resided with her since he was three years of age. He resides with Appellee's parents. This arrangement began when Appellee decided to live with the Appellant who expressed a lack of desire to live with Appellee and her first child.
The parties resided in the Harrisburg area and began to encounter marital difficulties. On October 6, 1981, they
[ 327 Pa. Super. Page 47]
executed a Postnuptial Separation Agreement and Property Settlement. In that Agreement primary custody of McKenzie was given to Appellant with temporary custody and visitation rights to Appellee. Following the separation, the Appellant remained in the family home in West Hanover Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and Appellee moved to the State College area where she secured employment as a waitress. McKenzie continued to live with his father at the family residence and the father was and continues to be employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. From October, 1981, until the early part of 1983, the parties generally complied with the custody arrangement specified in the Separation Agreement. However, in the Spring of 1983, some problems arose which prompted Appellant to file a Petition to Confirm Custody in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. A hearing was held on the Petition to Confirm Custody on June 17, 1983, and at that hearing both parties presented extensive testimony in support of each's claim for primary custody of their son, McKenzie.
The trial court determined that the Postnuptial Agreement was not valid as it affected custody. Therefore, a full and complete hearing was held in order to determine what would be in the best interests of the child. Following the hearing, the trial court entered an Order granting primary custody to the Appellee-Mother and temporary custody and visitation to Appellant. This was a change in the existing custody arrangement.
While it is well-settled that in a child custody case the scope of review is broad, we must accept the trial court's findings of fact if supported in the record. However, we are not bound by the trial court's inferences and can make an independent review of the evidence to reach our own conclusions on the award of custody. Commonwealth ex rel. Spriggs v. Carson, 470 Pa. 290, 368 A.2d 635 (1977). Appeal of Marilyn W., 325 Pa. Superior 39, ...