from the Order Entered June 2, 2016 In the Court of Common
Pleas of York County Civil Division at No(s): 2010 FC
BEFORE: BOWES, J., LAZARUS, J., and MUSMANNO, J.
Leicht (Husband) appeals from the order, entered in the Court
of Common Pleas of York County, granting in part and denying
in part Patricia Leicht's (Wife) exceptions to the
master's report and recommendation. Husband claims the
trial court order requiring him to pay alimony indefinitely
was an abuse of discretion. After our review, we affirm.
parties were married in 1988, and they separated in 2006. The
court entered a divorce decree on June 2, 2016. The parties
have three adult children, one of whom lives with Wife during
college breaks and summer.
parties were age 50 at the time of the hearing before the
divorce master, which was held on March 24, 2015. We
summarize the master's findings as follows:
parties graduated from York Technical School. Husband has
worked in manufacturing jobs since the mid-1980s, and works
as a press operator, earning approximately $44, 000.00 gross
income annually. Husband has medical benefits through his
employment, and he participates in a 401(k) retirement plan.
Husband is in good health. He lives in a two-bedroom
apartment with his girlfriend, where he pays rent of $550
each month. Husband's girlfriend pays utilities.
is a certified Licensed Practical Nurse. Although she worked
until 2009, she suffered from a variety of mental issues
throughout the marriage. Her condition deteriorated in 2009,
and she was hospitalized on two occasions in 2010. She is
currently being treated by a psychiatrist, receives
counseling regularly, and takes various medications to treat
anxiety, depression and various physical conditions,
including congestive heart failure and diabetes. Wife has
been on disability for approximately four years, and
currently receives disability benefits in the amount of $1,
117 per month (net of Medicare Part B premium of $105 per
month). Wife also receives $585.58 each month in spousal
support. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment and pays rent
of $1, 010 each month, including utilities.
separation, the parties had minimal marital property. The
marital home went into foreclosure shortly after separation.
The master found Wife has no earning capacity at present and
that her situation was unlikely to change in the future. The
master found no marital misconduct.
master recommended that Husband continue paying Wife $585.58
per month through September 30, 2016 (as alimony pendente
lite, to convert to alimony upon entry of final divorce
decree on June 2, 2016). The master also recommended Husband
pay $600 towards Wife's counsel fees, payable in monthly
installments of $50 over one year following entry of the
final divorce decree. In the report and recommendation, the
master suggested Wife consider subsidized housing and
government benefits for low-income and disabled persons, as
well as a "representative payee" to assist her in
managing financially on her budget. Wife filed exceptions.
August 26, 2015, the trial court granted Wife's
exceptions, in part, and entered an order requiring Husband
continue alimony payments to Wife indefinitely. See
23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3701(c) ("The court in ordering
alimony shall determine the duration of the order, which may
be for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is
reasonable under the circumstances."). Husband appealed.
He raises one issue for our review:
Did the trial judge abuse his discretion in reversing the
recommendation of the Divorce Master[, ] who recommended a
limited period of alimony[, ] and instead imposed a lifetime
Appellant's Brief, at 2.
award of alimony may be reversed "where there is an
apparent abuse of discretion or there is insufficient
evidence to support the award." Balicki v.
Balicki, 4 A.3d 654, 659 (Pa. Super. 2010), ...