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DAVID ARTZT v. KAREN ARTZT (03/27/89)

filed: March 27, 1989.

DAVID ARTZT, APPELLEE,
v.
KAREN ARTZT, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Civil Division at No. 443-1985.

COUNSEL

Karen Artzt, in propria persona.

Robert M. Rosenblum, Stroudsburg, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, McEwen and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 383 Pa. Super. Page 25]

This is an appeal from the order of July 15, 1986, awarding physical custody of the parties' minor daughter, Jennifer, to the appellee, David Artzt.

Shortly after the entry of the order in question, an appeal was taken by Karen Artzt to this court. However, the substantive issues of the appeal were not addressed by this court. Since the Honorable Harold A. Thomson, Jr., President Judge of the 60th Judicial District, neglected to write an opinion in support of the custody order, we remanded the case to allow the court below to file a comprehensive opinion which would include a thorough analysis of the record, findings of facts and conclusions of law. Artzt v. Artzt, 371 Pa. Super. 637, 534 A.2d 125 (No. 2161 Philadelphia 1986, filed September 21, 1987). Effective appellate review in custody disputes requires that the hearing court file a complete and comprehensive opinion which contains an exhaustive analysis of the record and specific reasons for the court's ultimate decision. See Harner v. Harner, 330 Pa. Super. 343, 479 A.2d 583 (1984); Berresford v. Berresford, 308 Pa. Super. 278, 454 A.2d 129 (1982). When no such opinion is filed, remand for filing of an opinion by the lower court is mandated. Delbaugh v. Delbaugh, 337 Pa. Super. 587, 487 A.2d 417 (1985); Commonwealth ex rel. Leighann A. v. Leon A., 280 Pa. Super. 249, 421 A.2d 706 (1980).

On March 27, 1987, the Honorable Robert J. Conway, President Judge of the 22nd Judicial District, was appointed to preside specially over this remanded matter.*fn1 Eventually,

[ 383 Pa. Super. Page 26]

    on August 3, 1988, Judge Conway filed an opinion which stated:

[T]his Court did not begin presiding over the above-captioned matter until March 27th, 1987. It was President Judge Harold A. Thomson, Jr., who issued the July 15th, 1986 Order. Because of that fact, this court cannot provide the Superior Court with any further insight into the above-captioned matter than has already been given herein.

Further, this Court has been unable to locate, at the Pike County Prothonotary's office, notes of testimony from the June 25th, 1986 hearing, or the report of Dr. Gardner, mentioned in the July 15th Order. For these above reasons, this Court is unable to present the Superior Court with a comprehensive analysis of reasons in support of the Court's Order of July 15th, 1986.

Finally, this Court suggests that the issue of whether the trial court abused its discretion by continuing placement of the minor child in the physical custody of her father beyond the completion of the school year is now moot. The reason being, Jennifer since November 4th, 1987, has been in the legal ...


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