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JACK F. DYER v. JOETTE DYER (01/28/88)

filed: January 28, 1988.

JACK F. DYER, APPELLANT,
v.
JOETTE DYER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order Enter June 19, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Civil No. 42, 1983.

COUNSEL

Michael Collins, Williamsport, for appellant.

Harry V. Klein, Jr., Sunbury, for appellee.

Olszewski, Del Sole and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 379]

This is an appeal from the trial court's order awarding alimony pendente lite and permanent alimony to Joette Dyer. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the order of the trial court in part and reverse in part.

The parties to this action were married on March 24, 1973 and separated on September 10, 1974. During the marriage wife was employed full time earning slightly above minimum wage, while husband worked off and on as a laborer. The parties' standard of living during this period was below average. Following the separation, wife lost her job and began a series of hospitalizations for mental illness. Presently, wife's only income is Social Security disability benefits in the amount of $368 monthly.

Husband began working at a factory after the separation and has worked there off and on for thirteen years. In December, 1983 husband won $2.8 million in the Pennsylvania lottery, which he receives in 21 annual installments of approximately $110,000 each.

On January 24, 1983, husband filed a complaint in divorce and on October 11, 1983, he filed a Section 201(d) affidavit.*fn1 This complaint was reinstated October 28, 1983.

[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 380]

On February 14, 1984 husband filed an amended complaint. On March 27, 1984 this complaint was reinstated and a second Section 201(d) affidavit was filed.

On May 24, 1984 wife filed an answer to the amended complaint along with a counterclaim for alimony, alimony pendente lite, equitable distribution of marital property, counsel fees, costs and expenses. Wife also filed a counter-affidavit under Section 201(d) denying that the marriage was irretrievably broken.

A hearing was held on April 30, 1986, at which the trial court found that the marriage was irretrievably broken and that the parties had lived separate and apart for over three years. A final decree in divorce was entered on January 30, 1987. On the same day, the court entered an order directing husband to pay wife alimony in the amount of $500 per month for the remainder of her life unless she remarried. The husband was also directed to pay wife alimony pendente lite in the sum of $500 per month for the period of May 25, 1984 (the date of wife's answer and counterclaim) to the date of the entry of the divorce decree. Husband was also directed to pay wife an allowance for reasonable counsel fees. Both parties filed motions for post trial relief with husband taking exception to the awards of alimony and alimony pendente lite and wife claiming the awards should have been higher. On June 19, 1987, the trial court denied both parties' motions for post trial relief. The trial court did, however, modify the alimony award directing that such payments shall be increased to the extent that the Social Security disability benefits received by ...


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