No. 469 Harrisburg 1983, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Lebanon County, at No. 83-1024.
Daryl J. Gerber, Palmyra, for appellant.
Philip H. Feather, Annville, for appellee.
Wickersham, Wieand and Hester, JJ.
[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 581]
James E. Gerber appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County granting primary custody of his son, James E. Gerber, Jr., to his wife, Marie P. Gerber.
James and Marie Gerber were married on May 20, 1978. It was Marie's second marriage and James' first. Their child, James, Jr., the subject of this custody dispute, was
[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 582]
born on August 1, 1979. In November of 1982, Marie left the marital home, taking young James [hereinafter "Jimmy"] with her.
James filed a divorce complaint on January 7, 1983, seeking custody of the couple's son in count III thereof. Following a custody hearing in the lower court on November 22, 1983, the Honorable G. Thomas Gates issued an order granting custody of the child to Marie, appellee herein. This timely appeal followed.
(O)ur law has long recognized that the scope of review of an appellate court reviewing a custody matter is of the broadest type . . . [.] Thus, an appellate court is not bound by deductions or inferences made by a trial court from the facts found; . . . nor must a reviewing court accept a finding which has no competent evidence to support it . . .
(W)e have recognized that the trial judge is in a position to evaluate the attitude, sincerity, credibility, and demeanor of the witness. Because we are not in such a position, we have recognized that a trial judge's determination of custody should be accorded great weight. Only where we are constrained to hold that there was a gross abuse of discretion should an ...