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BARBARA A. HALEY v. CHARLES F. HALEY (09/14/88)

submitted: September 14, 1988.

BARBARA A. HALEY
v.
CHARLES F. HALEY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, Family Division, No. F.C. 86-090-S BOOK 14 PAGE 308

COUNSEL

Charles F. Haley, in propria persona.

Barbara Haley Wize, in propria persona.

Cavanaugh, Tamilia and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 324]

This is a pro se appeal by the defendant/father, who is an attorney, from a June 17, 1987 Order modifying a previous

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 325]

    child support Order. Appellee/mother is also proceeding pro se in this matter but has not submitted a brief.

The parties were married in Texas in 1968. On January 28, 1986, appellee filed a complaint in divorce seeking, among other items, spousal and child support. The parties had three children during the course of their marriage: Deron, born September 1, 1971; Ryan, born March 17, 1973; and Shannon, born August 1, 1977. On February 10, 1987, a final Decree in divorce was entered. At the time of the hearing on appellants' petition for modification of support, an existing child support Order was in effect requiring a total monthly support obligation by appellant in the amount of $645 per month less a $76 per month payment to be made by appellant on a joint obligation of the parties, resulting in an actual support payment of $569 per month. Appellant filed the petition for modification because he had been laid off on February 16, 1987 from a $35,000 a year job as labor counsel for Heck's Inc. The hearing officer recommended the support obligation remain unaltered at $569 per month plus the $76 payment on the joint obligation, but did alter the form of payment by requiring appellant to pay only $250 per month while unemployed, with the remainder accumulating as an arrearage. The trial court entered the recommendations as an Order on June 17, 1987. After a hearing de novo the trial court denied both parties' exceptions and made the Order final on October 19, 1987. This timely appeal followed.*fn1

Appellant's sole claim on appeal is that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to reduce his child support obligation after he incurred an involuntary reduction in income.

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 326]

Our scope of review in child support cases is limited. In Ritter v. Ritter, 359 Pa. Super. 12, 16-18, 518 A.2d 319, 322 (1986), we set forth the standard of review for child support as follows:

It is within the trial court's discretion to determine the amount of a support Order, and its judgment should not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear abuse of that discretion. Melzer v. Witsberger, 505 Pa. 462, 480 A.2d 991 (1984); Commonwealth ex rel. Loring v. Loring, 339 Pa. Super. 92, 488 A.2d 324 (1985). 'On appeal, a trial court's child support order will not be disturbed unless there is insufficient evidence to sustain it or the court abused its discretion in fashioning the award.' Fee v. Fee, 344 Pa. Super. 276, 279, 496 A.2d 793, 794 (1985); Commonwealth ex rel. Robinson v. Robinson, 318 Pa. Super. 424, 465 ...


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