No. 551 Philadelphia 1983, Appeal from the Order of February 10, 1983, by the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Domestic Relations Section, No. DR 40782.
Sandor Engel, Allentown, for appellant.
Richard J. Shiroff, Easton, for appellee.
Wieand, Olszewski and Popovich, JJ. Popovich, J., concurs in the result.
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David A. Koller, appellee, filed a petition for modification from a support order entered on April 15, 1982. By the terms of the order, Mr. Koller was to pay $100.00 per week for the support of his two minor children and $50.00 per week to Nanette A. Koller, appellant. On February 3, 1983, after review by the Domestic Relations Section and a hearing, the Honorable Richard D. Grifo filed an order reducing the support to an unallocated $102.00 per week. Mrs. Koller appeals from that order.
The facts of the case are as follows. Mrs. Koller filed a petition for support against Mr. Koller on March 28, 1982, seeking support for herself and the parties' two minor children. Mr. Koller was then employed as a tool technician with an income of approximately $230.00 per week. The parties reached an agreement for support in the amount of $150.00 per week. The court below accepted the agreement by order of April 15, 1982, including a stipulation that any income earned by the wife would not be the subject of a review for modification while the children remained of tender years. No appeal was taken from the order.
In December 1982, Mr. Koller filed a petition for modification. The basis for this petition was that Mrs. Koller was working increased hours. After conference, the hearing master recommended that the original support order be upheld. Following a hearing before the Honorable Richard D. Grifo, an order was entered reducing Mr. Koller's support payments to $102.00 per week.
Appellant argues that the lower court abused its discretion in finding a substantial change in circumstances to allow a reduction in the original support order. We agree.
The role of an appellate court in support proceedings is limited; absent a clear abuse of discretion, we will defer
[ 333 Pa. Super. Page 57]
to the order of the lower court. Commonwealth ex rel. Vona v. Stickley, 287 Pa. Super. 296, 430 A.2d 293 (1981). A finding of abuse will be made only upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence. Commonwealth ex rel. Caswell v. Caswell, 280 Pa. Super. 359, 421 A.2d 762 (1980).
An abuse of discretion does not necessarily imply a willful abuse, but if, in reaching a conclusion, the law is overridden or misapplied or the judgment exercised is manifestly unreasonable as shown by the evidence or the record, discretion is then abused and it is the duty of the appellate court to correct the ...