Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, Orphans Division, Action No. 68
Michael H. Small, Palmyra, for appellant.
Pamela A. Weiss, Lebanon, for appellees.
Cavanaugh, Tamilia and Cercone, JJ. Cercone, J., dissents with opinion.
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This case is before us on appeal from the trial court's Decree of May 29, 1985, terminating the parental rights of
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appellant, Kenneth Lee Stickler, Sr., to his three minor children.
As stated by the trial court, the sole issue before us is whether the respondent, by his conduct for a period of at least six months, has either evidenced a settled purpose of relinquishing parental claim to these children or has refused to perform parental duties.
The appropriate standard of review in cases involving the termination of parental rights is limited to a determination of whether the decision to terminate parental rights is supported by competent evidence. If review of the record does not reveal an abuse of discretion, an error of law or insufficient evidentiary support for the lower court's findings, the Order must stand. Lookabill v. Moreland, 336 Pa. Super. 520, 485 A.2d 1204 (1984), Matter of Adoption of Baby Boy Allen, 337 Pa. Super. 133, 486 A.2d 517 (1984); see also In re Adoption of B.K.W., 348 Pa. Super. 333, 502 A.2d 235 (1985).
In this case, the facts found by the court and supported by the record are as follows.
The natural parents of these children were married in 1975 and divorced in October of 1982. The three children subject of the termination proceedings are Kenneth, born September 19, 1976, Bradley, born February 15, 1979 and Kim, born August 23, 1980. The children have been with the appellee/mother since birth and she has been the primary custodian since the date of separation in July 1982 and following the divorce of the parents in October 1982. Prior to the divorce, the father failed to support his children for a period of at least nine months by gambling his weekly paycheck on horse races at the Penn National Race Track. The sole exception to that pattern of non-support, to the date of divorce was a single months contribution ...