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Morgan v. Morgan

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

August 21, 2014

SHERI A. MORGAN, Appellee
v.
DANIEL T. MORGAN, Appellant

Argued April 1, 2014

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Domestic Relations Division, No. 2009-557. Before VAN HORN, J.

Appeal from the Order entered July 11, 2013, Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Domestic Relations at No. 2009-557.

Anthony J. Vetrano, King of Prussia, for Morgan, D.

John C. Howett, Jr., Harrisburg, for Morgan, S.

BEFORE: DONOHUE, ALLEN and STABILE, JJ.

OPINION

Page 555

DONOHUE, J.

Daniel T. Morgan (" Father" ) appeals from the July 11, 2013 order of court regarding his child support obligation for C.M., his un-emancipated adult son with Sheri A. Morgan (" Mother" ).[1] Mother has filed a cross-appeal, challenging the trial court's assignment of an earning capacity to her and the amount of thereof. Following

Page 556

our review, we affirm the trial court with regard to the issue raised in Father's appeal and reverse in part as to the issues raised by Mother in her cross-appeal.

In 2003, the parties were divorced in Maryland. In conjunction with the divorce, the parties entered into a property settlement agreement (" PSA" ), which provided, in relevant part, that Father would pay Mother alimony and child support.[2] The PSA provided that Father's alimony obligation would remain fixed until July 1, 2007, after which either party could seek to modify the amount of the obligation. The PSA was incorporated into the divorce decree.

On May 3, 2007, Father registered the Maryland divorce decree and PSA in Franklin County. Almost immediately thereafter he filed a petition seeking to reduce his alimony obligation. In response, Mother filed a petition seeking to increase Father's alimony obligation. These filings initiated approximately four years of proceedings regarding Father's alimony obligation, including an appeal to this Court, our remand to the trial court for further evidentiary proceedings, and then a subsequent appeal.

In 2011, as the second appeal from the alimony proceedings was pending before this Court, Mother filed a support action because Father told her that he was going to cease paying child support for C.M. As part of the ensuing support proceedings, Father's employer submitted income information to the trial court that revealed that Father had been lying about his income and submitting falsified documents, including federal tax returns, to the trial court in connection with the alimony action. It was later discovered that the tax returns Father produced in the support action -- after his deceit in connection with the alimony proceedings had been discovered -- were also falsified. The discovery of Father's fraud on the court led to a protracted discovery period. As a result, the parties did not appear before the trial court for a hearing on Mother's support petition until July 2012, with a second day of hearings held in September 2012. The trial court subsequently entered an order setting Father's child support obligation and providing that it would apply retroactively to May 3, 2007 (the date Father registered the parties' divorce decree and PSA in Franklin County) and requiring Father to pay $128,526 of Mother's counsel fees. In making the support award, the trial court assigned Mother an income of $92,500[3] and rejected Mother's claim for an upward deviation ...


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