Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Snyder County, No. 289, 1980.
Albert Momjian, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Thomas C. Clark, Middleburg, for appellee.
Wieand, Beck and Cercone, JJ.
[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 594]
On November 6, 1980, George W. Rinck and Jean M. Rinck, husband and wife, entered into a property settlement agreement. Their agreement was incorporated into a final divorce decree entered on February 17, 1981. The agreement contained, inter alia, the following provision:
Defendant George W. Rinck, II, shall pay Plaintiff, Jean M. Rinck, permanent alimony from date hereof continuously, during and throughout her lifetime so long as she does not remarry, one-third of his gross monthly income. Gross income of Defendant shall be considered any assets or sums received by him from any source whatsoever, excluding income from Defendant's Social Security retirement benefits and benefits from retirement plans and annuities. Defendant's gross income shall be verified annually on or before March 15th of the following year by certified finincial [sic] report prepared by a certified public accountant at Defendant's expense. The Court shall retain continuing jurisdiction of the matter in order to enforce this order.
[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 595]
It is this provision which has given rise to the instant dispute.
George Rinck, a medical doctor, is employed on the staff of Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg. At the time of the divorce, he also conducted a part-time, general medical practice in Middleburg. On the advice of his accountant, he incorporated his medical practice on September 26, 1983. Prior to formation of a professional corporation, husband's gross income was approximately $30,000.00 per year and his alimony obligation was approximately $10,000.00. After incorporation, he determined his own salary and elected to withdraw from the corporation, as salary, the sum of $11,000.00 per year. Thereafter, husband reduced the amount paid to his former wife to $3,663.00 per year.
Wife filed a "petition for contempt" in which she alleged that her former husband had willfully refused to comply with the alimony provisions of the divorce decree. Following a hearing on December 2, 1985, the court declined to find Dr. Rinck in contempt of court, but clarified the divorce decree by ordering that future alimony payments be determined in accordance with the annual gross income derived by his professional corporation. On appeal, Dr. Rinck argues that the trial court abused its discretion by (1) piercing the corporate veil, and (2) defining his gross income to include the gross income of his wholly owned professional corporation, rather than the salary which he is paid by the corporation.
The parties' agreement which was incorporated into the final divorce decree requires appellant to pay alimony in the amount of "one-third of his gross monthly income." Gross income is defined by the agreement as "any assets or sums received by [appellant] from any source whatsoever, excluding income from . . . social security retirement benefits and benefits from retirement plans and annuities." For the three years preceding formation of the professional corporation, appellant's annual income was ...