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WILLA E. WHITE v. J. NEVIN WHITE (02/24/89)

filed: February 24, 1989.

WILLA E. WHITE
v.
J. NEVIN WHITE, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, Civil Division, No. 4730 Civil 1981

COUNSEL

Albert Momjian, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Richard C. Snelbaker, Mechanicsburg, for appellee.

Wieand, Olszewski and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 382 Pa. Super. Page 479]

This is a timely appeal by defendant J. Nevin White of a Decree in divorce and Order incorporated therein providing for equitable distribution of the marital property, awarding appellee attorney's fees and costs, and denying appellee alimony. On appeal, appellant contests the trial court's distribution of marital property and award of attorney's fees.

The parties were married on November 23, 1946. During the course of their marriage they had two children, both of whom are emancipated adults. The parties separated on June 2, 1970 and have not resided together since that date. Appellee Willa E. White filed a complaint in divorce on December 24, 1981, alleging grounds for divorce pursuant to 23 P.S. § 201(d) of the Divorce Code, 23 P.S. § 101 et seq. Eleven hearings were held before a master during 1985 to resolve appellee's claims for equitable distribution, alimony pendente lite, alimony and counsel fees and costs. Timely exceptions to the master's report and recommendations were filed by both parties. After review of the exceptions, the trial court upheld the master's finding with the exception of the valuation of appellant's one-fourth interest in timberland located in Centre County, which the trial court concluded required an increase in the cash distributive award to appellee of $10,140 (Slip. Op., Hoffer, J., 4/6/88, p. 6). This appeal followed.

Appellee was born on March 26, 1926, making her 60 years old at the time of the master's report and 62 years old at the time of the appeal. The family unit remained intact

[ 382 Pa. Super. Page 480]

    for the first 24 years of the marriage, with appellee working in appellant's lumber business without remuneration for the last 14 years prior to their separation in 1970, in addition to her being a homemaker. She has a high school education with little training and is suffering from a series of serious and chronic health problems which will prohibit any future gainful employment. Appellee has remained in the marital home since separation, receiving monthly spousal support by court Order in the amount of $2,100.

Appellant was born on October 25, 1925, making him 61 years old at the time of the master's report and 63 years old at the time of this appeal. Appellant is the sole stockholder and owner of J. Nevin White Lumber Company, Inc. (hereinafter "White Lumber"), and earns a salary of $53,000 per year, plus substantial fringe benefits. The trial court did not disturb the master's finding that the value of the company as of the date of the divorce was $2,735,000. Appellant also has a disputed interest in a Bermuda Corporation known as White Timber, Ltd., which was established and is controlled by a trust created by appellant's aunt in Bermuda in 1976. White Timber, Ltd., is a foreign income sales corporation or FISC, designed to defer or avoid United States income taxes for the sale of domestic lumber produced by appellant's lumber company in the international market.

The trial court made the following distribution of marital property after largely upholding the findings of the master:

APPELLEE

Description Value or Amount

Marital home $110,000.00

Household goods and furnishings 3,138.00

Joint securities 25,761.16

Individually owned life insurance policy 46,334.90

Bethel Isle, Florida lot ...


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