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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. PATRICIA A. COCHRAN A/K/A PATRICIA AVERY KEUTHER v. W. PETER COCHRAN (02/27/85)

filed: February 27, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. PATRICIA A. COCHRAN A/K/A PATRICIA AVERY KEUTHER, APPELLEE,
v.
W. PETER COCHRAN, APPELLANT



No. 02428 Philadelphia, 1983, No. 02440 Philadelphia, 1983, Appeal from Orders of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Delaware County at No. F-27-1256 of 1977.

COUNSEL

Donald Brown, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Judith S. Eden, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Beck and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 339 Pa. Super. Page 604]

The proceedings in the court below were based on a petition by the appellee, Patricia A. Cochran, for an increase in support for her two children, one of whom was attending college at the time of the petition; a second petition was to hold the appellant, W. Peter Cochran, in contempt for failure to comply with a previously entered support order.*fn1 The support order in question was entered by agreement by Judge Reed in 1981 and was in the amount of $200.00 per week for the support of two children, one of whom was eighteen and the other was approximately twelve years of age. A hearing was held in the court below before Judge Bloom who entered two orders from which consolidated

[ 339 Pa. Super. Page 605]

    appeals were taken to this Court. On August 5, 1983, the court entered an order directing the appellant to pay $2,288.00 to the appellee to reimburse her for their daughter's college expenses for one year.*fn2 A second order of the same date determined that the appellant was in contempt of court and directed him to pay $1,000.00 to the appellee to purge himself of contempt and also increased child support from $200.00 per week to $225.00 per week.

At the hearing of June 9, 1981, it was agreed between counsel for the parties, among other things, that the appellant would contribute to reasonable college expenses for Jill Cochran, who at that time was contemplating attending college. The appellee was divorced from the appellant and after the June, 1981, hearing she remarried.

At the hearing before Judge Bloom on the basis of appellee's petition for increased support as discussed above, the record established that the appellant had allowed substantial arrearages to accrue for child support on the support order. In addition, his daughter, Jill, was then attending Kutztown State College. There was extensive testimony concerning college expenses for Jill Cochran. It appeared that her mother, the appellee herein, who had a real estate license, was not working at the time and that she stayed home to take care of her son. When the appellee remarried after the June, 1981, hearing her standard of living improved substantially over what it had been when she was married to the appellant.

[ 339 Pa. Super. Page 606]

The appellant at the time of the hearing was in the real estate and building business which had been in a serious recession. The testimony established that he had been in the real estate business for many years. The appellant introduced W-2 Forms from his own corporations which indicated that he had an earned income of some $14,000.00 in the year 1982. He testified that he had to borrow $5,000.00 from his mother and $10,000.00 from his girlfriend's mother in order to live. There were various judgments against his building corporation and against him personally. Around this time he had sold a number of buildings for substantial prices but he testified that these were subject to large encumbrances, so that the net proceeds were relatively small. Nevertheless, he admitted that in 1981 he bought his girlfriend a sports car for which he paid $12,000.00 in cash.

Appellant contends that the court below erred in entering an increased support order as the child for whom support was increased was an adult and was not a party to the action. We agree. Pa.R.C.P. ...


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