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LAURA E. WINTERS v. CHRISTOPHER L. WINTERS (07/07/86)

filed: July 7, 1986.

LAURA E. WINTERS, APPELLANT,
v.
CHRISTOPHER L. WINTERS



Appeal from the Decree in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Civil Division, No. 81-21, 318.

COUNSEL

Warren R. Baldys, Jr., Williamsport, for appellant.

T. Max Hall, Williamsport, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Tamilia and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 355 Pa. Super. Page 67]

Appellant/wife filed a complaint for divorce in 1981, but the parties continued to live together until 1983. A master's hearing was held and a report filed on May 25, 1984, to which exceptions were filed. The exceptions were denied and the court entered an Order adopting the master's recommendations that 55 per cent of the marital assets be given to appellant and 45 per cent to appellee/husband. Appellee was also to pay rehabilatative alimony in the amount of $125 per week for 48 months; both parties were to pay their own counsel fees.

A final divorce decree was entered on April 17, 1985 and this appeal followed. Appellant challenges the equitable distribution of property, the amount of alimony awarded and the denial of counsel fees.

The facts indicate the parties married in 1967 and have two teenage children, a boy residing at a prep school and a girl living with appellant in a rented house.

The appellant, forty years of age, was a homemaker during most of the marriage. She has some job skills acquired through volunteer and clerical work, but at the time of the master's hearing, was unemployed.

The appellee is forty-four years of age, has a college degree and is currently chief executive officer of a company, earning $49,400 per year. Substantial assets were also acquired through inheritance. Appellee has continued to reside in the marital residence since the parties separated in 1983.

The first matter we address is the contention that the court made an improper determination in establishing the date of valuation of an inheritance.

[ 355 Pa. Super. Page 68]

Appellee acquired a trust inheritance from his father's estate and the court agreed with the master's determination that the appellee had no control over the change in value of the trust, and the marital portion, under 23 P.S. ยง 401(e)(3), was the amount of appreciation in value from the time of estate distribution until the date of the hearing.

The appellant maintains the marital portion should be the increase in value from the time of the father's death until the date the parties separated. Alternatively, it is argued that appellant's evidence was more probative in establishing that the value of the trust on the hearing date was the same as at the time of separation and the court erred in relying ...


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