CAROL J. HARVEY Appellee
RICHARD H. HARVEY Appellant
from the Decree August 31, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas
of York County Civil Division at No(s): 2013-FC-1193-02
BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., OTT, J., and STABILE, J.
H. Harvey (Husband) appeals from the Decree in Divorce
entered August 31, 2016, in the Court of Common Pleas of York
County, that severed the bonds of matrimony between the
parties, and made final and appealable the equitable
distribution orders entered January 23, 2014, and April 25,
2016. Husband contends: (1) The Honorable Harry Ness abused
his discretion and committed an error of law in his Order,
dated January 17, 2014, and entered January 23, 2014, wherein
he determined the marital residence was marital property
subject to equitable distribution; and (2) The Honorable N.
Christopher Menges abused his discretion and committed an
error of law in his Order, dated and entered April 25, 2016,
wherein he awarded Carol J. Harvey (Wife) 60 percent of the
escrowed funds from the sale of the marital residence, and 40
percent to Husband. See Husband's Brief at 4.
Based upon the following, we affirm the Decree in Divorce,
vacate the Orders of January 23, 2014, and April 25, 2016,
and remand to the trial court for an order awarding each
party 50% of the escrowed proceeds from the sale of the
issues raised in this appeal concern the marital residence.
On June 29, 1993, prior to their marriage, the parties
purchased the marital residence as joint tenants with the
right of survivorship. Subsequently,
[t]he parties were married on September 10,
1993. On September 2, 1993, the parties
entered into a valid prenuptial agreement. [Wife] reviewed
the prenuptial agreement with Attorney Robert Stickler prior
[Wife] is seventy-two (72) years old. [Wife] suffers from
diabetes, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and high blood
pressure and takes multiple medications for these conditions.
[Wife] has medical insurance coverage through Medicare and
secondary insurance coverage through Aetna.
[Husband] is seventy-eight (78) years old. [Husband] suffers
from coronary artery disease, peripheral neuropathy, and
spinal problems and takes multiple medications for these
Both parties are currently retired. [Wife] is on a monthly
fixed income from Social Security of $1, 806 and three (3)
Horace Mann annuities that total $934 per month. [Husband] is
on a monthly fixed income from Social Security of $1, 545 and
PSERS pension of $2, 406 per month.
The parties split all material expenses fifty-fifty (50/50)
during the marriage. Specifically, from the date of the
parties' marriage until [Wife] filed for divorce, each
party paid fifty (50%) of each mortgage payment. Each party
paid fifty (50%) of all real estate taxes and homeowner's
insurance. Each party paid fifty (50%) percent of all
The parties equally contributed to the purchase of the
marital residence. At the time the parties purchased the
marital residence, [Wife] did not have fifty percent (50%) of
the down payment and closing costs to contribute towards the
ma[rital] residence. [Wife] therefore executed a judgment
note to [Husband] in the amount of $44, 169.72 representing
her half of the down payment. After the parties'
marriage, [Wife] sold her premarital residence and paid
[Husband] in full the amount owed in full under the Judgment
Trial Court Opinion, 4/25/2016, at 1-3.
filed a Complaint in Divorce on July 3, 2013. Thereafter, on
December 6, 2013, she filed a Petition for Special Relief.
Petition, Wife asserted: "The parties executed a
Prenuptial Agreement. The parties agree that the Prenuptial
Agreement covers most of the property of the parties that
would otherwise be marital. They disagree as to whether it
covers the marital residence[.]" Wife's Petition for
Special Relief, 12/6/2013, at ¶4.
Petition for Special Relief further stated:
The Divorce Master provided a summary of the recent
proceedings in a Memorandum dated December 3, 2013 as
At the [Discovery Conference], the parties advised that there
is a valid Antenuptial Agreement in this case. While the
parties agree that the Agreement is valid, they disagree as
to the interpretation of it. Husband argues that the
agreement precludes the creation of marital property and
equitable distribution. He further argues that the marital
residence was purchased by the parties prior to marriage and
thus is excluded per the agreement. Wife argues that when the
marital residence was deeded to the parties as tenants by the
entirety during the marriage, it constituted a gift to the
marital estate and became marital property subject to
equitable distribution. If the court interprets the agreement
in the same manner as Wife, Husband's separate estate
will be relevant and thus, discovery regarding it
appropriate. If, however, the court interprets the agreement
in the same manner as Husband, then discovery is not
appropriate. Therefore, the master will place the discovery
appointment on hold while the parties seek a determination of
the appropriate interpretation of the agreement.
Id. at ¶ 6.
averred that "[t]he marital residence was purchased by
the parties as joint tenants with a right of survivorship
just prior to the marriage", and "[a]nother Deed
was executed by the parties after the marriage on September
24, 2002 as part of a refinancing that converted the marital
residence into tenants in the entireties." Id.
at ¶¶ 8-9. Wife requested the court's
interpretation of the parties' Antenuptial Agreement,
"specifically, whether the Deed executed by the parties
on or about September 24, 2002 constituted a gift to the
marriage making the marital residence marital property
subject to [the equitable] distribution." Id.
hearing on the Petition was scheduled for January 16, 2014.
On January 15, 2014, Wife filed a Memorandum of Law, and
Husband filed a Brief in Support of Terms of Antenuptial
advance of the hearing, the parties entered into a
Stipulation of Facts for the January 16, 2014,
hearing. The Stipulation set forth, in relevant
7. The parties were married on September 10, 1993 in York,
8. On September 2, 1993 the parties executed an Antenuptial
Agreement, a copy of which is attached hereto and
incorporated herein as Exhibit "A".
12. The parties jointly purchased the marital residence on
June 29, 1993 in anticipation of their marriage. The June 29,
1993 deed names the parties as Richard H. Harvey and Carol J.
Baker (Wife's prior name) as joint tenants with the right
13. At the time the parties purchased the residence, Wife did
not have 50% of the down payment and closing costs to
contribute toward the marital residence. Wife therefore
executed a Judgment Note to Husband in the amount of $44,
169.72 representing her half of the down payment and closing
costs for the purchase of the marital residence.
14. After the parties' marriage, Wife sold her premarital
residence and paid Husband in full the amount owed in full
under the Judgment Note.
15. The marital residence was subject to a mortgage when the
parties purchased the marital residence.
16. On September 24, 2002 the parties refinanced the house
and obtained a lower interest rate. The September 24, 2002
mortgage was in the amount of $87, 000.
17.At the time that the parties refinanced the marital
residence on September 24, 2002, the parties executed a new
deed to the marital residence and the grantee clause reads:
"Richard H. Harvey, Sr. and Carol J. Harvey, husband and
wife, of Manchester Township, York County,
Pennsylvania." From the date of the parties'
marriage until Wife filed the Complaint for Divorce, each
party paid 50% of each mortgage payment. Each party paid 50%
of all real estate taxes and homeowner's insurance. Each
party paid 50% of all household utilities.
Joint Stipulation of Facts, 6/26/2015, Exhibit "C"
(Stipulation of Facts for January 16, 2014 Hearing, at
hearing on Wife's Petition was held on January 16, 2014.
The trial judge, the Honorable Harry Ness, determined that if
testimony was unnecessary, an order would be entered based on
the briefs and stipulation of facts. See N.T.,
1/16/2014, at 2. Thereafter, counsel presented legal argument
to the court, and the trial judge confirmed with counsel he
would enter an opinion based upon the joint stipulation of
facts. Id. at 8-9.
order dated January 17, 2014, and entered January 23, 2014,