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Colonna v. Colonna

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
855 A.2d 648 (Pa. 2004)


Robert Colonna (plaintiff) filed a petition for divorce from Mary Colonna (defendant) after approximately 13 years of marriage. At the time of separation, Robert sought primary legal and physical custody of the Colonnas’ four children, who ranged in age from three to nine years old. Pending the outcome of Robert’s custody petition, Robert and Mary agreed to a temporary order of shared legal and physical custody, which provided that the children would live with each parent for three-and-a-half days per week. The trial court ordered Robert to pay monthly child support, as well as other routine household expenses. The following year, the trial court awarded primary legal and physical custody of the children to Robert during the school year and Mary during the summer months. Additionally, Robert was awarded partial custody of one or more of the children for two days per week during the summer months, and Mary was provided the same during the school year. Later, Robert filed a petition to terminate child support on the basis that he was now the children’s primary custodian. At a hearing before a special master, Robert was ordered to continue paying monthly child support based upon his sizeable income, despite Robert having custody of the children 73 percent of the year and Mary having custody 27 percent of the year. Robert and Mary appealed. The trial court granted Mary’s request on appeal to raise Robert’s child-support contribution in accordance with state child-support guidelines. Robert appealed. The appellate court reversed and concluded that, for purposes of calculating child support, the custodial parent was not required to pay child support to the non-custodial parent. Mary appealed. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Newman, J.)

Dissent (Cappy, C.J.)

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