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ADOPTION FAITH M. AND VICTORIA M. APPEAL THEODORE R.M. (06/29/84)

filed: June 29, 1984.

IN RE ADOPTION OF FAITH M. AND VICTORIA M. APPEAL OF THEODORE R.M.


NO. 900 PITTSBURGH, 1982, Appeal from the Order of July 1, 1982, in the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Orphans Division, at No. 3030 of 1982.

COUNSEL

R. Downie, Jr., Beaver Falls, for appellant.

Gretchen S. Reed, Beaver, for appellee.

Brosky, McEwen and Beck, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 329 Pa. Super. Page 306]

The appellant-natural father appeals an order granting the appellee-natural mother's petition for the involuntary termination of the appellant's parental rights to the parties' two daughters. Concluding under the circumstances that the appellant did not neglect his parental duties during any six-month period, we reverse the trial court's termination order.

The appellant and the appellee were married on July 6, 1974. On January 18, 1975, the parties' first daughter, Faith, was born. Thereafter, the parties began to experience marital problems which culminated in the departure of the appellee and Faith from the parties' Wisconsin marital home.

At the time of the parties' separation, the appellee was three months pregnant. On June 19, 1976, the parties' second daughter, Victoria, was born in Pennsylvania where

[ 329 Pa. Super. Page 307]

    the appellee and Faith had resided since the parties' separation.

Meanwhile, on January 15, 1976, the appellee filed for divorce in Wisconsin's Polk County court. After a hearing at which the appellant appeared in person and through his attorney, the appellee appeared only through her attorney, and the parties' children appeared solely through their court-appointed attorney (guardian ad litem), the Polk County court issued a divorce decree which awarded custody of the parties' daughters to the appellant and reasonable visitation rights to the appellee. The divorce decree became effective on October 26, 1976, and was not appealed by the appellee.

However, despite the Wisconsin court's award of custody to the appellant, the parties' daughters continued to live in Pennsylvania with the appellee. Consequently, on March 15, 1977, the appellant sought to enforce the Wisconsin custody award by petitioning the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County for a writ of habeas corpus. A hearing on the matter was held on April 20, 1977, at which time both the appellant and the appellee appeared with their counsel, and the appellant was personally served with the appellee's complaint for child support.

Following negotiations by the parties and their counsel, on April 21, 1977, the Beaver County court issued an order giving the appellee custody of the parties' children and allowing the appellant several weeks of yearly visitation. As a precondition to exercising his visitation rights, the appellant was required to post a cash bond of fifteen hundred dollars. By a separate order of April 21, 1977, ...


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