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RUTH BEDFORD v. ROBERT BEDFORD (08/03/89)

filed: August 3, 1989.

RUTH BEDFORD
v.
ROBERT BEDFORD, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order Entered August 15, 1988 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Civil No. 74-0281.

COUNSEL

Susan E. Grosh, Lancaster, for appellant.

Russell W. Stabler, Lancaster, for appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Rowley and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 386 Pa. Super. Page 351]

This is an appeal from an order of support entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in response to appellant Robert Bedford's petition to modify his support obligation. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

Robert Bedford (hereinafter "father") and Ruth Bedford (hereinafter "mother") had two children during the course of their marriage: Michael and Robert, Jr. After the parties' divorce, a support obligation for these children, who were living with their mother, was placed upon their father. From time to time, the amount of father's obligation was modified because of a change in circumstance which the parties brought to the court's attention. As of November

[ 386 Pa. Super. Page 35217]

, 1987, father was obligated to pay the amount of eighty-five dollars per week (forty-two dollars and fifty cents each) for the support of Michael and Robert.

On April 11, 1988, father filed a petition for modification of his support obligation. In the petition, he requested a reduction in his support obligation on the ground that his son Michael was scheduled to graduate from high school on June 10, 1988. A conference on this petition was held between the parties and a domestic relations hearing officer. On June 29, 1988, the hearing officer filed a recommendation with the court suggesting that it continue father's support obligation of forty-two dollars a week for Robert, Jr., but that it terminate father's support obligation for Michael because he had turned eighteen and graduated from high school. Upon consideration of this recommendation, the trial court entered an order directing the parties to comply with the terms of the recommendation. See Pa.R.C.P. 1910.11(f).

On July 7, 1988, mother filed exceptions to the recommendation and requested a hearing before the court of common pleas. A de novo hearing*fn1 was then conducted by the trial court pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1910.11(i).*fn2 On August 15, 1988, the trial court entered an order raising father's support for Robert, Jr. from forty-two dollars and fifty cents a week to fifty-five dollars per week and continuing father's support for Michael in the amount of thirty dollars per week. Regarding father's support obligation toward Michael, the court stated: "There was no estrangement between Michael Bedford and [his father] and Michael Bedford was entitled to support and it would not be an undue hardship for [father] to provide support for Michael Bedford."*fn3

[ 386 Pa. Super. Page 353]

Shortly after this order was entered, father filed this appeal.

On appeal, father claims that the trial court erred by ordering him to pay support for his son Michael's college expenses. He contends specifically that the trial court erred in the following respects:

(1) the trial court erred by failing to find that Michael's estrangement from his father relieves his father of his duty to pay support for Michael's college expenses;*fn4

(2) the trial court erred by ordering father to pay support towards Michael's college expenses without considering the earning ...


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