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MARY BETH STEENLAND-PARKER v. RICHARD PARKER (07/18/88)

filed: July 18, 1988.

MARY BETH STEENLAND-PARKER, APPELLEE,
v.
RICHARD PARKER, APPELLANT



Appeal from Order entered September 4, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia COunty, Civil No. 82-13254.

COUNSEL

Thomas S. McNamara, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Joan Esmonde, Philadelphia, for appellee.

McEwen, Olszewski and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 375 Pa. Super. Page 459]

This appeal is from a trial court order granting appellee's exceptions to the permanent hearing officer's (PHO) recommendations, and modifying a previous child support order. Appellant raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court abused its discretion in granting appellee's exceptions, without sufficient evidence of the reasonable

[ 375 Pa. Super. Page 460]

    needs of the child residing with appellee and of appellee's ability to pay; (2) whether the trial court entered a child support order that is punitive and confiscatory; and (3) whether the trial court abused its discretion in permitting appellee to be represented by a Philadelphia assistant district attorney in proceedings that do not arise under the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6741-80 (1982), amended by and reenacted at 23 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 4501-40 (Supp.1986) ("RURESA").

Appellant and appellee are parents of two sons, Eric and Ian. Both children resided with appellee and her second husband in Scottsdale, Arizona. In December of 1986, Eric left to permanently reside with appellant in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Because of this change of circumstances, appellant petitioned the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia, Family Court Division, to modify an existing support order entered by the Philadelphia trial court. At the hearing before the PHO, appellant and Eric testified on behalf of the petition. Appellee was not present at the proceedings; however, she was represented by a Philadelphia assistant district attorney. Both parties filed updated income and expense statements.

The PHO recommended that appellant's petition for modification be granted, reducing the $290.00 support order in half and crediting appellant with $145.00 per week from the date of Eric's move to the date of the proposed order. Thereafter, appellee filed exceptions to the PHO's proposed order. Granting the appellee's exceptions, the trial court entered an order requiring appellant to pay $210.00 per week for Ian and increasing appellant's arrearage payments from $55.00 to $80.00. This timely appeal followed. For reasons stated below, we affirm the order of the trial court.

In evaluating child support orders, our scope of review is very narrow. Michael v. Michael, 360 Pa. Super. 312, 520 A.2d 473 (1987). No child support order will be disturbed unless there is insufficient evidence to sustain the order or there has been an abuse of discretion by the lower court. Ritter v. Ritter, 359 Pa. Super. 12, 518 A.2d 319

[ 375 Pa. Super. Page 461]

(1986). "An abuse of discretion is not 'merely an error of judgment, but if in reaching a conclusion the law is overridden or misapplied, or the judgment exercised is manifestly unreasonable, or the result of partiality, prejudice, bias or ill-will, as shown by the evidence or the record, discretion is abused.'" ...


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