Judges Opinions Public Notices, — June 2, 2021 9:23 — 0 Comments

Public Notices, June 2, 2021

Volume 58, No. 44

 

PUBLIC NOTICES

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pamela L. Ream v. Dennis Pannebecker

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Letters Testamentary or of Administration have been granted in the following estates. All persons indebted to the said estate are required to make payment, and those having claims or demands to present the same without delay to the administrators or executors named.

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF PAUL ROBERT SECHRIST, late of Bethel Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Ruth A. Halbleib, Personal Representative, Administrator

 

Megan C. Huff, Esquire

Nestico Druby, P.C.

1135 Chocolate Avenue, Suite 300

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF LINDA L. ROHLAND, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Marc Andrew Rohland, Executor

 

Charles A. Ritchie, Jr., Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

 

ESTATE OF ANNABEL C. WILSON, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Sharon L. Wilson, Executrix

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF ROBERT L. DONMOYER, SR., late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Deborah A. Weiant, Executrix

825 Lovers Lane,

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF DENNIS A. BOLTZ, SR., late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Connie L. Boltz, Administratrix

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF ANTHONY R. BOTT A/K/A ANTHONY RIVES BOTT, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Cynthia C. Bott, Executrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF LOIS M. EISENHOWER, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Brett T. Eisenhower, Executor

594 Woodlawn Drive,

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Frederick S. Long, Esquire

Long Brightbill

315 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF GLADYS P. O’CONNOR A/K/A GLADYS PORTER O’CONNOR, late of South Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased February 18, 2021. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Thomas A. O’Connor, Executor

 

Edward P. Seeber, Esquire

JSDC Law Offices

Suite C-400

555 Gettysburg Pike

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

(717) 533-3280

 

SECOND PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF GARY L TRAUTMAN, late of North Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Wendy E. Dorsey, Administratrix

11 Weaverland Dr.

Fredericksburg, PA 17026

 

Michael S. Bechtold, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF JEAN WOLFORD WAGNER A/K/A JEAN W. WAGNER, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Larry E. Wagner, Executor

1241 Julianne Dr.

Hummelstown, PA 17036

 

Jason J. Schibinger, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF MARILYN J. BROOKS, late of North Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Lori M. Henry, Executrix

2598 Old Philadelphia Pike

Bird in Hand, PA 170505

 

Jason J. Schibinger, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF KENNETH SCHLEGEL A/K/A KENNETH M. SCHLEGEL, late of 110 Brown Ave., P.O. Box 42, Mount Gretna, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Stinson Stroup, Administrator

 

John E. Feather, Jr., Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

ATTORNEY

 

ESTATE OF MARY M. HITZ, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Gregory A. Hitz, Executor

1666 Heilmandale Road

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Patrick M. Reb, Esquire

547 South 10th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF I. THOMAS KLINE, A/K/A IRVIN THOMAS KLINE, late of Annville Township, Lebanon County, PA, deceased. Letters testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executors.

 

Gregory T. Kline, Executor

830 East Walnut Street

Annville, PA 17003

 

Kirsten K. Van Demark, Executor

3377 Picket Fence Lane

Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

 

Thomas S. Long, Esquire

Long Brightbill

315 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF VIVIAN P. GERHART, late of Jackson Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Michael H. Gerhart, Executor

 

  1. Anthony Kilkusie, Esquire

117A West Main Street

Ephrata, PA 17522

 

ESTATE OF SUSAN C. EVANS, late of Jackson Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Kevin M. Brown

143 Vanderbilt Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15243

 

Timothy T. Engler, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF EMMA L. SCHROFF, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix and Executor.

 

Helen M. Fuhrman, Co-Executrix

1526 Lafayette Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Alfred D. Schroff, Co-Executor

1441 Haney Drive

Harrisburg, PA 17109

 

Edward Coyle, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF MARVIN D. HARLAN, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Liana Harlan-Rodriguez, Executrix

407 W. Chestnut Street

Cleona, Pa 17042

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF ARTHUR KLING, JR., late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Sandra K. Neidlinger, Executrix

2588 Long Ln.

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF JOANN V. RAGER, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executors.

 

Dawn E. Schauer, Executor

3714 Buffalo Road

New Windsor, MD 21776

 

Eric R. Rager, Executor

38 Harbourton Woodsville Road

Pennington, NJ 08543

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF ANGELA C. FUNK, late of Mount Gretna Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Robert J. Funk, Administrator

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF LOIS B. PATTERSON A/K/A LOIS M. PATTERSON, late of South Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased 4/1/21. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrices.

 

Cheryl A. Patterson, Executrix

1815 Anna St.

New Cumberland, PA 17070

 

Coleen P. Greecher, Executrix

90 Fetrow Ln.

New Cumberland, PA 17070

 

Brian J. Murren, Esquire

Tucker Arensberg, P.C.

2 Lemoyne Dr., Ste. 200

Lemoyne, PA 17043

 

ESTATE OF LEE A. WHITE, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Randall L. Getz, Executor

1011 Beech Street

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

John D. Enck, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

THIRD PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF JOHN W. LEFEVER, SR., late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Co-Administrators.

 

John W. Lefever, Jr., Administrator

 

Jessica A. Beamesderfer, Administratrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF JAMES R. LEEDY A/K/A JAMES LEEDY, late of East Hanover Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Keith Leedy, Executor

1156 Harvest Drive

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

David R. Warner, Jr., Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF HERMAN C. STUMPF, late of West Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Sally A. Dugan, Executrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF KAREN J. APPLEBY, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Barbara J. Bailey, Executrix

6439 Moline Lane

Harrisburg, PA 17111

 

Stuart S. Sacks, Esquire

SMIGEL, ANDERSON & SACKS, LLP

4431 North Front Street, 3rd Floor

Harrisburg, PA 17110

 

ESTATE OF CHRISTINE H. SHAAK, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Judith M. Wengert, Executrix

 

Jeffrey F. Arnold, Esquire

Christianson Meyer

411 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA  17042

 

ESTATE OF HAROLD L. KLEINFELTER, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executrixes.

 

Suanne L. Miller, Executrix

 

Trudy Seyfert, Executrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

JUDGES OPINION

 

Pamela L. Ream v. Dennis Pannebecker

 

Civil Action-Family Law-Child Support-Party Receiving Support-Non-custodial Parent-Best Interests of the Child-Disparity in Income and Standards of Living-Equality of Custody Schedule-Special Needs of the Child

 

Dennis Pannebecker (“Father”) filed Exceptions to the Order adopting the Report and Recommendation of the Domestic Relations Master directing him as the parent who enjoys greater periods of physical custody of the parties’ child to pay support to Pamela L. Ream (“Mother”) as the parent who enjoys lesser periods of physical custody of the child.

 

  1. For purposes of calculating child support, the custodial parent generally is the oblige and the non-custodial parent is the obligor.

 

  1. The Explanatory Comment to Pa.R.C.P. Rule 1910.16-1 provides that each parent is required to contribute a share of the child’s reasonable needs proportional to the parent’s share of the combined net incomes with the custodial parent making contributions entirely through direct expenditures for food, shelter, clothing, transportation and other reasonable needs and the non-custodial parent making contributions through support payments in addition to any direct expenditures.

 

  1. On most occasions, the cost associated with continuing contact will be borne by the non-custodial parent.

 

  1. Support ordered for a non-custodial parent may be appropriate where there is a disparity in the parties’ incomes such that the denial of support to that parent would be contrary to the best interests of the child and that support is necessary to ensure that the child has continuing contact with the non-custodial parent.

 

  1. Fashioning an order of support for a non-custodial parent should occur only when the best interests of the child demand it, where there is a great disparity in incomes of the parties and where parties’ custody schedules nearly are equal.

 

  1. When an order of support is entered for a non-custodial parent, the amount always must be limited to reflect the reality that the non-custodial parent also has a duty to support the child for the greater time that the child is in the care of the custodial parent.

 

  1. In considering whether to award support to a non-custodial parent, the Court must consider the extent of the disparity in the parties’ incomes, the amount of time the non-custodial parent enjoys with the child, whether there is a great disparity in the standards of living enjoyed by the parties and whether the child has any special needs that only financially can be met by the custodial parent.

 

  1. While the Domestic Relations Master’s award of support to Mother that resulted in a redistribution of financial resources and gave Mother greater income than Father was unfair, an award of support to Mother as the non-custodial parent in the amount of $250.00 per month is appropriate where the Domestic Relations Master found that the parties’ child would benefit from the payment of support by Father to Mother, Mother enjoys considerable time each week with the child, Mother’s income significantly is less than Father’s income and Mother has childcare expenses necessary to maintain the status quo custody arrangement.

 

L.C.C.C.P. No. 2013-50554, Opinion by Bradford H. Charles, Judge, April 3, 2020.

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

DOMESTIC RELATIONS SECTION

 

 

PAMELA L. REAM                            : 

          Plaintiff                                     :        NO. 2013-5-0554                                                                                          :        PACSES NO. 898114094

  1. :       

                                                          :

DENNIS PANNEBECKER                  :

Defendant                                 :

ORDER OF COURT

 

 

 

AND NOW, this 3rd day of April, 2020, upon consideration of the exceptions filed by Dennis Pannebecker (hereafter FATHER) and after review of the file, the Court GRANTS FATHER’s exceptions.  Effective on October 15, 2019, FATHER shall pay to Pamela L. Ream (hereafter MOTHER) the sum of $250.00 per month for one child, Chase Pannebecker,  plus $25.00 per month account of accumulated arrearages for Chase Pannebecker.  The additional Order of this Court is as follows:

 

The amount to be paid for each dependent and obligation amount is allocated as follows:

 

AMOUNT/FREQUENCY  OBLIGATION TYPE                  BENEFICIARY

_$250.00 _/_month_                _Child support _  _Chase Pannebecker_

_$25.00 _/_month_                  _arrears _   _ Chase Pannebecker _

Arrears are due in full IMMEDIATELY.  All terms of this Order are subject to collection and/or enforcement by contempt proceedings, credit bureau reporting, tax refund offset certification, driver’s license revocation, and the freeze and seizure of financial assets.  These enforcement/collection mechanisms will not be initiated so long as Obligor does not owe overdue support.  Failure to make each payment on time and in full will cause all arrears to become subject to immediate collection by all the means listed above.

The monthly support obligation includes cash medical support in the amount of $250 annually for un-reimbursed medical expenses incurred for each child and/or spouse.  Un-reimbursed medical expenses of Obligee or children that exceed $250 annually shall be allocated between the parties.  The party seeking allocation of the un-reimbursed medical expenses must provide documentation of the expenses to the other party no later than March 31st of the following calendar year in which the final medical bill to be allocated was received.  The un-reimbursed medical expenses are to be paid as follows:  _____60.00___% by Defendant and ____40.00____% by Plaintiff.  Defendant party to provide medical coverage _____for Plaintiff and the children_________________________:

IT IS ORDERED THAT (ITEMS CHECKED BELOW APPLY):

___X__The defendant is ordered to cover the dependent(s) with health care coverage whenever it is available at a reasonable cost which shall be defined as a cost that does not exceed 5% of defendant’s net monthly income and does not exceed 50% of defendants net monthly income when added to the basic child support plus additional expenses,.

__X___Health care coverage is currently not available at a reasonable cost to defendant.  Therefore, plaintiff is ordered apply for/continue government-sponsored coverage, such as Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  The cost of said coverage shall not exceed 5% of plaintiff’s net monthly income.

_____Health care coverage is currently not available at a reasonable cost to defendant.  Therefore, plaintiff is ordered to cover the dependent(s) with health care coverage if it is available at a reasonable cost which shall be defined as a cost that does not exceed 5% of plaintiff’s net income.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED:

Within 30 days after the entry of this order, the party ordered to provide health care  coverage shall provide written proof to the Lebanon County Domestic Relations Office and the other party that medical insurance has been obtained, including insurance cards and any other material necessary to utilize the coverage.

If Health Insurance is currently unavailable to the party/parties ordered to provide it, such proof shall be provided to Lebanon County Domestic Relations within 7 days of the date of this order.

If Health Insurance coverage is now available or becomes available to the party/parties ordered to provide it, the party/parties shall provide proof of the cost to Lebanon County Domestic Relations within 7 days of the date of availability.

  1. ___ __DEFENDANT _____PLAINTIFF SHALL PAY THE FOLLOWING FEES:

FEE TOTAL FEE DESCRIPTION                  PAYMENT FREQUENCY

_$ /_once_            _  _                                          _$ _PER __once__

 

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS:

__________All other provisions from the court order dated ____________, not affected by this order, shall remain in full force and effect.

 

Any money collected pursuant to this Order shall be paid by Pennsylvania State Collection & Disbursement Unit to Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s assignee, or as designated, by other Order of Court.  Said money to be turned over by the Pennsylvania State Collection & Disbursement Unit to Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s assignee, or as designated, by other Order of Court.

Within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Order, the party or parties providing insurance shall submit to the person having custody of the child(ren) written proof that medical insurance coverage has been obtained or that application for coverage has been made.  Proof of coverage shall consist, at a minimum, of: 1) the name of the health care coverage provider(s); 2) any applicable identification numbers; 3) any cards evidencing coverage; 4) the address to which claims should be made; 5) a description of any restrictions on usage, such as prior approval for hospital admissions, and the manner of obtaining approval; 6) a copy of the benefit booklet or coverage contract; 7) a description of all deductibles and co-payments; and 8) five copies of any claim forms.

Payments must be made by check or money order.  All checks and money orders must be made payable to Pennsylvania State Collection & Disbursement Unit and mailed to P.O. Box 69110, Harrisburg, PA 17106-9110.  Each payment must bear your social security number and member number in order to be processed.

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE

PARTIES MUST WITHIN SEVEN DAYS INFORM THE DOMESTIC RELATIONS SECTION AND THE OTHER PARTIES, IN WRITING, OF ANY MATERIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES RELEVANT TO THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT OR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SUPPORT ORDER, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OR CHANGE OF INCOME OR EMPLOYMENT AND CHANGE OF PERSONAL ADDRESS OR CHANGE OF ADDRESS OF ANY CHILD RECEIVING SUPPORT. A PARTY WHO WILLFULLY FAILS TO REPORT A MATERIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES MAY BE ADJUDGED IN CONTEMPT OF COURT, AND MAY BE FINED OR IMPRISONED.

 

PENNSYLVANIA LAW PROVIDES THAT ALL SUPPORT ORDERS SHALL BE REVIEWED AT LEAST ONCE EVERY THREE (3) YEARS IF SUCH REVIEW IS REQUESTED BY ONE OF THE PARTIES. IF YOU WISH TO REQUEST A REVIEW AND ADJUSTMENT OF YOUR ORDER, YOU MUST DO THE FOLLOWING: CALL YOUR ATTORNEY. AN UNREPRESENTED PERSON WHO WANTS TO MODIFY (ADJUST) A SUPPORT ORDER SHOULD CONTACT THE DOMESTIC RELATIONS SECTION.

 

ALL CHARGING ORDERS FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT AND ALIMONY PENDENTE LITE, INCLUDING UNALLOCATED ORDERS FOR CHILD AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT OR CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY PENDENTE LITE, SHALL TERMINATE UPON DEATH OF THE PAYEE.

 

A MANDATORY INCOME ATTACHMENT WILL ISSUE UNLESS THE DEFENDANT IS NOT IN ARREARS IN PAYMENT IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN ONE MONTH’S SUPPORT OBLIGATION AND (1) THE COURT FINDS THAT THERE IS GOOD CAUSE NOT TO REQUIRE IMMEDIATE INCOME WITHHOLDING; OR (2) A WRITTEN AGREEMENT IS REACHED BETWEEN THE PARTIES WHICH PROVIDES FOR AN ALTERNATE ARRANGEMENT.

 

UNPAID ARREARS BALANCES MAY BE REPORTED TO CREDIT AGENCIES. ON AND AFTER THE DATE IT IS DUE, EACH UNPAID SUPPORT PAYMENT SHALL CONSTITUTE, BY OPERATRION OF LAW, A JUDGEMENT AGAINST YOU, AS WELL AS A LIEN AGAINST REAL PROPERTY.

 

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, upon payer’s failure to comply with this order, payer may be arrested and brought before the Court for a Contempt hearing; payer’s wages, salary, commissions, and/or income may be attached in accordance with law; this Order will be increased without further hearing by 10 % a month until all arrearages are paid in full.  Defendant is responsible for court costs and fees.

 

BY THE COURT:

 

__________________________J.

BRADFORD H. CHARLES

BHC/gb

Cc:    Court Administration (order only)

Domestic Relations Office

Donna Brightbill, Esq.//

Pamela Ream// 20 ½ West Main Ave., Myerstown PA 17067

Dennis Pannebecker//4 Church St., PO Box 751, Richland PA 17087


 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

DOMESTICE RELATIONS SECTION

 

 

PAMELA L. REAM                             : 

          (Plaintiff)                                  :        NO. 2013-5-0554                                                                                          :        PACSES NO. 898114094

  1. :       

                                                          :

DENNIS PANNEBECKER                  :

(Defendant)                     :

APPEARANCES

 

John Gragson, Esquire            For Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

DOMESTIC RELATION’S OFFICE

 

Donna Brightbill, Esquire                  For Dennis Pannebecker

LONG BRIGHTBILL ATTORNEYS AT LAW

OPINION BY CHARLES, J., April 3, 2020

 

 

This case highlights the “disparity of income” exception to the well-established rule that a custodial parent should not be required to pay child support to a non-custodial parent. With the best interest of the child in mind, we will employ this exception in this case. However, we will not award the amount of support recommended by the Domestic Relations Master (DRM).  Our reasons for these decisions will follow.

 

  1. FACTS

On July 18, 2013, Pamela Ream (hereinafter “MOTHER”) filed a Complaint for child support. While the Complaint was pending conference, the parties reached an agreement to share “50/50” custody of the child and a custody order to that effect was entered on August 31, 2013. An order directing Dennis Pannebecker (hereinafter “FATHER”) to pay $338.11 per month was entered at a conference on September 18, 2013. This order was terminated at MOTHER’s request on March 6, 2014, on the grounds that the parties “now have a private agreement”. On December 1, 2016, a Complaint to reopen was filed but withdrawn the same day, also citing a “private agreement.” By order dated December 2, 2016, the case was closed again.

On July 11, 2017, a third Complaint was filed. This Complaint proceeded to a conference on August 30, 2017, at which an order for support in the amount of $425 was made. The conference officer noted that this was “less than the Guidelines.” This order was terminated on April 29, 2019 when MOTHER indicated that there was yet another “private agreement.”

Unfortunately, the “private agreement” did not last very long, and the complaint presently at issue was filed on July 31, 2019. It proceeded to a conference on September 5, 2019. The parties did not agree to the recommendation and the case was listed for hearing on October 10, 2019 before a Domestic Relations Master (hereinafter “DRM”). The hearing was continued to October 17, 2019 due to the unavailability of counsel. At that time, the parties appeared and testified. The DRM’s findings were entered as an interim order on December 16, 2019.

MOTHER and FATHER are the parents of one (1) child, age nine (9). MOTHER has no other children and FATHER has a two-year old with his fiancée. MOTHER is employed at Elmcroft of Lebanon[1] and earns $12.35 per hour. She has worked substantial overtime. She stated she did this in lieu of looking for a second job. The DRM averaged the paystubs and concluded that MOTHER’s usual earnings were $1265.88 biweekly and $2302.85 per month.

FATHER is employed by Cocalico Plumbing & Heating. He is paid $23 per hour for his work. From the eight (8) weeks of paystubs, he was able to produce, his average income was $972.19 per week or $3456.92 per month. FATHER was unable to provide a detailed picture of his fiancée’s earning capacity.

MOTHER provides childcare, which costs $105 per week during the school year and $145 per week during the summer. The parties’ 2013 custody order is still in effect which approximated 50/50 custody.

As some point, MOTHER asked FATHER to take more days to accommodate her work schedule in exchange for “dropping the support” in April of 2019. By the time of the hearing, MOTHER had the minor child on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. FATHER had the minor child on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.[2]

The DRM concluded that the guideline amount for basic support, before treating “shared custody”, was $1049.00, of which FATHER’s share is $629.61 and MOTHER’s $419.39. FATHER’s “percentage share” of income was 60.02% so the DRM recommended that he contribute $259.59 toward the day care and 60% toward unreimbursed medical expenses. FATHER was given a credit of $285.96 for the shared custody. The net basic support recommended was $343.65 and the total with the childcare contribution was $603.24.

 

  1. LEGAL PRINCIPLES

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has concluded that for purposes of calculating child support, the custodial parent is generally the obligee and the non-custodial parent is the obligor. Colonna v. Colonna, 855 A.2d 648, 651 (Pa.Super.2004). Pa.R.C.P. 1910.16-1, Explanatory Comment B.2., provides:

Each parent is required to contribute a share of the child’s reasonable needs proportional to that parent’s share of the combined net incomes. The custodial parent makes these contributions entirely through direct expenditures for food, shelter, clothing, transportation and other reasonable needs. In addition to any direct expenditures on the child’s behalf, the non-custodial parent makes contributions through periodic support payments.

 

Nonetheless, the Superior Court was troubled by the denial of support for a non-custodial parent when there is a “disparity” in the parties’ income such that denial of any support would be contrary to the best interests of the children. Colonna v. Colonna, 855 A.2d 648, 651 (Pa.Super.2004).

The General Assembly has declared:

It is the public policy of the Commonwealth, when in the best interest of the child, to assure a reasonable and continuing contact of the child with both parents after a separation or dissolution of the marriage and a sharing of the rights and responsibilities of the child rearing by both parents…

 

23 Pa.C.S. §5301. On most occasions, the cost associated with “continuing contact” will be borne by the non-custodial parent.  But what about when the non-custodial parent cannot afford those costs?  What about when he or she will not be able to provide an environment that resembles the one in which the children are accustomed to living with the custodial parent? To expect that quality of the contact between the non-custodial parent and the children will not be negatively impacted by that parent’s comparative penury vis-à-vis the custodial parent is not realistic. Issuing a support order in such situations may be the only way to insure that “continuing contact” remains viable.

 

 

 

  • DISCUSSION

In the present case, FATHER enjoys primary physical custody of the child because the child is in his care most days of the week, including every weekend, whereas, MOTHER enjoys physical custody of the child only three (3) days of the week. Therefore, FATHER is the custodial parent because the child is in his care the majority of time. Generally, as custodial parent, FATHER would be entitled to receive child support from MOTHER. However, FATHER’s monthly income exceeds MOTHER’s income by over $1000.00 per month.  Is this enough to trigger an exception to the general rule that only non-custodial parents should pay support?

Where the parent who does not have primary custody has a less significant income than the custodial parent, it is likely that he or she will not be able to provide an environment that resembles the one in which the child is accustomed to living with the custodial parent. We would be remiss to ignore the reality of what happens when children are required to live vastly different lives depending upon which parent has custody on any given day. A child may be inclined to, unfairly, gravitate towards the parent with greater financial means because of the material comforts available in that household or may be precluded from participating in quality activities while in the care of the less fortunate parent. Ultimately, the quality of the contact with the child could be negatively impacted by a significant income difference.

Awarding child support to the non-custodial parent is a non-traditional remedy and we must emphasize that it should not be employed as a vehicle for redistribution of wealth. Rather, fashioning an order that requires payment by a custodial parent should be reserved only when the best interests of the child demand that such an order be entered.  Moreover, whenever this type of exceptional order is entered, we must ALWAYS limit the amount to reflect the reality that the recipient non-custodial parent also has a duty to support the child for the greater time that the child is in the care of the custodial parent.

Whenever a Court – or a DRM – is tempted to award support to a non-custodial parent, there are several factors that should be considered.  In no particular order of importance, those factors include:

  • What is the extent of the disparity in the parties’ income? Generally speaking, child support to a non-custodial parent should be reserved for situations when there is great disparity of income.
  • How much time does the non-custodial parent enjoy with the children? As a general practice, awarding support to a non-custodial parent should be limited to situations where the parties’ custody schedule is nearly equal. Although we do not wish to create bright-line time percentage rule, we cannot imagine a circumstance in which we would consider awarding support to a parent who enjoys physical custody on an alternating weekend basis.
  • Is there a great disparity in the standard of living enjoyed by the parties? When a custodial parent obviously has more than enough money to meet his/her own needs and the needs of the children, and the non-custodial parent is struggling despite his/her best efforts, this should be considered in assessing whether support should be paid by the custodial parent.
  • Do the children have any special needs that can only be financially met by the custodial parent? There are a plethora of scenarios within which a child would have the need for financial resources when in the custody of the non-custodial parent. When only the custodial parent has the wherewithal to provide these needs, he/she should be expected to do so.  In cases where this does not occur voluntarily, the non-custodial parent should be able to receive court assistance to ensure that the children’s needs are met.

As we consider everything outlined above, we have relatively quickly reached the conclusion that the DRM’s recommended payment of support would be patently unfair.  If in fact FATHER were to be required to pay $603.24 a month, that would leave FATHER with net income of $2853.00 and MOTHER with $2,905.00.  Stated differently, the DRM’s decision would result in a situation where the non-custodial parent would have greater income than the custodial parent.  Such a redistribution of financial resources would be unfair.  Therefore, we will sustain FATHER’s exception and we will reject the DRM’s recommendation.

With the above being concluded, we still must determine whether any amount of support should be paid by FATHER to MOTHER.  In reaching this decision, we must respect the DRM’s implicit finding that the parties’ child would benefit by some payment of money from FATHER to MOTHER.  We must also keep in mind that MOTHER enjoys considerable time each week with the child and that her income is significantly less than the income of FATHER.  In addition, we cannot overlook the fact that MOTHER has childcare expenses that she needs to pay in order to maintain the status quo custody arrangement.  If we were to require MOTHER to pay the entirety of her childcare expense, she would be left with roughly $1700.00 per month in income, which is roughly one-half of FATHER’s available income.  This result would be as unfair as the redistribution of wealth scheme recommended by the DRM.

When we consider everything, we agree with the DRM that this is the type of non-traditional case where the award of child support to a non-custodial parent should be considered.  Having reached this conclusion, we stop well short of the amount contemplated by the DRM.  Rather than strictly employing the Child Support formula, we will direct that FATHER pay $250.00 per month to MOTHER to assist her in defraying her childcare expenses.  This award will provide needed help for MOTHER while still leaving FATHER – who is the custodial parent – with more disposable income to spend for the child.  An Order to accomplish this decision will be entered today’s date.

 

 

[1] Elmcroft is an assisted living facility.

[2] At oral argument, the parties vigorously disputed how and why FATHER undertook more than 50-50 custody.  According to MOTHER’s counsel, FATHER unilaterally changed the Court Order without her permission.  FATHER, of course, disputes this.  For purposes of the issue now before the Court, it is not necessary for us to resolve this factual disagreement.

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Ben has written 982 articles for Lebanon County Legal Journal

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