Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Schuylkill County at No. S-99-1982.
W.J. Krencewicz, Shenandoah, for appellants.
James R. Kilker, Pottsville, for appellees.
Wickersham, Beck and Cercone, JJ.
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 567]
Joseph J. and Alice Bresnock appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County awarding custody of their granddaughter Kathy Jo to the child's mother, Veronica Bresnock Marzec.*fn1 The fifth party to this action, Kathy Jo's father, Joseph R. Bresnock, is now deceased.
Kathy Jo Bresnock was born on January 18, 1975. Her parents, Veronica and Joe Bresnock, were married subsequent to her birth, and the family, along with Veronica's older daughter April Lynn, moved to Goose Creek, South Carolina. There the parents operated "Guys and Dolls," a bar featuring go-go dancing. Veronica supplemented the family income by performing at various times over the years as a go-go dancer. During the time that the parents ran the bar business in South Carolina, they allowed Kathy Jo to go to the home of her paternal grandparents (appellants herein) in Frackville, Pennsylvania, for extended visits. There was differing testimony as to when these visits began, but in any case, by 1980, Kathy Jo was spending the majority of her time at appellants' home, and appellants were providing her with support.
In the fall of 1981, Veronica and Joe returned to Pennsylvania because of Joe's affliction with terminal brain cancer. Veronica made arrangements for April to stay with Veronica's sister in McKeesport, and she and Joe moved into appellants' home in Frackville. The relationship between
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 568]
appellants and their son and daughter-in-law soon became estranged, however, caused in part by Joe's irrational and violent behavior resulting from the brain tumor. This estrangement resulted in appellants filing a petition for custody of Kathy Jo in January of 1982 and a protection from abuse petition against Veronica and Joe shortly thereafter. The latter matter was terminated by an agreement that Veronica and Joe would remove themselves from appellants' home, but allow Kathy Jo to remain there temporarily. Veronica and Joe resided in a motel in Frackville until May of 1982, when Veronica requested that appellants take Joe back to appellants' home because he was dying. Appellants did so. Veronica left Frackville at that point to attend to her daughter April, who was suffering from emotional problems allegedly brought on by prior sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father Joe Bresnock.
After Veronica left for McKeesport to be with April, Joe was hospitalized and subsequently died on June 26, 1982. Veronica returned to Frackville for her husband's funeral and then leased a home in Allegheny County in which she, April, and two elderly boarders lived. With the exception of a few short visits with her mother and sister, Kathy Jo remained with appellants. Custody hearings were held on October 5, 1982, April 5, 1983, March 15, 1984, and June 24, 1984, culminating in the court's order of August 28, 1984, awarding custody of Kathy Jo to Veronica. Appellants filed this timely appeal and were granted a supersedeas of the order by this court on September 10, 1984.
Appellants raise two issues before us:
1. Did the Court below err in awarding custody of the child to the mother, where the court failed to consider all relevant factors bearing upon the child's physical, ...