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J.G.J. (10/28/87)

filed: October 28, 1987.

IN RE J.G.J., JR.; APPEAL OF JOHN GARY JOSE


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Orphans' at Adoption No. 478685.

COUNSEL

James T. Owens, West Chester, for appellant.

Cavanaugh, Rowley and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 426]

J.G.J., Sr., father of the minor child, J.G.J., Jr., appeals from the final decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County denying his petition for involuntary termination of the parental rights of L.H., mother and appellee herein. This later decree reverses an earlier decree nisi, dated August 8, 1986, which terminated the parental rights of appellee, L.H. Upon a thorough review of the record, and application of the appropriate standard of review, we affirm.

J.G.J., Sr. and L.H. lived together sporadically from June 1979 to December 1981. J.G.J., Jr. was born September 26, 1979. Following the separation of his parents in December, 1981, J.G.J., Jr. resided with L.H. during the week and spent weekends with J.G.J., Sr. However, following a weekend visit in May of 1982, J.G.J., Sr. refused to return the child to L.H.'s custody after he discovered a burn on the child's back.*fn1 From May of 1982 to present, J.G.J., Jr. has

[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 427]

    resided with his father and his father's wife.*fn2

Between May of 1982 and June of 1983, L.H. testified that she visited her son five times and made approximately ten phone calls to him. (N.T. at 126.) However, she stopped calling her son when she was told that the calls were upsetting the child. (Id. at 125-126 and 142.) She testified that she visited her son only five times during this period because further visitation was not permitted by J.G.J., Sr. (N.T. 125-126 and 142.) On June 30, 1983, L.H. filed an action for custody of J.G.J., Jr. After a conciliation conference on August 1, 1983, the court issued a temporary order allowing L.H. to visit her son on alternating Sundays for two hours at the home of J.G.J., Jr.'s paternal grandmother. The court further directed that both parties attain the services of a psychologist in connection with the pending custody action.

From August 1983 to November 1984 L.H. did travel from her home in Delaware County to visit J.G.J., Jr. at the home of his paternal grandmother in Chester County. The trial court found that out of thirty-seven scheduled visits in this time period, L.H. was not able to attend thirteen. L.H. testified that she missed some of the visits because she gave birth to a child in July, 1984. L.H. further explained that she was not always able to arrange transportation for the visits. Although there was testimony to the contrary, L.H. testified that she telephoned J.G.J., Jr.'s grandmother when she had to cancel a visit.

On November 14, 1984, counsel for J.G.J., Sr. wrote to L.H.'s counsel stating, inter alia:

For reasons which shall become obvious, I have instructed my clients to preclude visitation with the youngster by your client. My reason is that on several occasions there have been threatening phone calls ...


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