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ROSE BETTY PACELLA v. ARMAND PACELLA (04/26/85)

filed: April 26, 1985.

ROSE BETTY PACELLA
v.
ARMAND PACELLA, APPELLANT



No. 0456 Pittsburgh 1983, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Family Division at No. 517 July 1979

COUNSEL

Joseph M. Wymard, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Regis J. McNally, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge, and Brosky and Olszewski, JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 181]

This is an appeal from an order granting alimony. Appellant argues that in fixing the amount of alimony, the trial court erred (1) in considering the earlier equitable distribution of property and appellant's earning capacity rather than his salary, and (2) in awarding alimony of unlimited duration. We affirm.

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 182]

Appellant and appellee were married on May 16, 1964. N.T. 11/16/81 at 52, 133. Appellant was employed by a mortgage company and appellee was employed as a waitress. N.T. 11/16/81 at 53, 154. Appellee had never received a high school diploma, and was a widow with a five year old child. Appellant subsequently adopted the child. Id. at 52, 133. After the parties married, appellant began his own mortgage brokerage business, id. at 134-135, and in February 1974 he formed the Mar-Val Mortgage Corporation, of which he was president and sole shareholder, using the family home as collateral. Id. at 74, 137-38. Within one year after the parties' marriage, appellee, at appellant's request, left her job so that she would be readily available to fulfill the many social engagements entailed in appellant's business, and also, to reduce the parties' income tax bracket. Id. at 54, 134. On February 8, 1976, the only child of the marriage was born. Id. at 55, 133. For most of the duration of the marriage, appellee was primarily a full-time homemaker, concerned with caring for appellant and the children. Occasionally she served as bookkeeper for appellant's business or arranged business entertainment, but she did no work outside the home. During 1976 she attempted to obtain a real estate agent's license, but although she completed the course, she failed the examination. Id. at 61-62.

On April 30, 1979, appellee filed for divorce, having petitioned for support four days earlier. (R. at 27, 1) She subsequently amended her complaint to request custody, equitable distribution, counsel fees, alimony pendente lite, and alimony. (R. at 19, 29, 49, 57, 58) The trial court ordered that appellant pay temporary support of $425 per month (R. at 4); this was later raised, after hearing, to $900. (R. at 12) On October 5, 1979, a master was appointed, and on April 3, June 2 and 3, and July 15, 1980, the master heard testimony. (R. at 40, 47, 48, 50) On July 17, 1980, the trial court, upon the master's recommendation, ordered that appellant pay $1,400 per month as alimony

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 183]

    pendente lite and support for the parties' minor child. (R. at 21)

On May 4, 1981, appellant and appellee agreed out-of-court on an equitable property distribution. (R. at 59)*fn1 On May 7, 1981, the trial court signed the divorce decree, and on August 14, 1981, ordered that appellee should have physical custody of the minor child. (R. at 63, 65) In November and December 1981 the court heard four days of testimony on appellee's petition for alimony. By then, appellant had accumulated substantial arrearages on the court's earlier orders directing him to pay alimony pendente lite and child support. On December 21, 1982, the trial court ordered that appellant pay decreasing amounts of alimony and child support, and that upon the child's emancipation, he pay appellee alimony of $300 per month.*fn2 (R. at 86) This appeal followed.

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 184]

-1-

Appellant's first argument is that in fixing the amount of alimony, the trial court erred in considering the earlier equitable distribution of property and appellant's earning capacity rather ...


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