A Trial Court can not utilize prior records not introduced at trial

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Saling, Litvin and Hambleton recently represented an individual in a support matter before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.  Our client sought to terminate his child support obligation owed to his daughter who had previously been declared a dependent adult.

During the course of the support hearing we were able to exclude older medical reports that the Obligee had introduced at an earlier trial which took place approximately ten years earlier. Despite that exclusion the trial court then relied on certain medical records which were maintained in the Court’s file, but not offered nor admitted at the time of trial.  We appealed on behalf of our client.

The Superior Court agreed that the Trial Court abused its discretion when it relied on information that was admitted during the earlier trial in 2002, but not in the current proceeding.  Relying on Ney v. Ney, 917 A.2d 863, 866 (Pa. Super. 2007); and Eck v. Eck, 475 A.2d 825, 827 (1984), we were able to successfully argue that a trial court may not consider evidence outside the present record even if additional information might otherwise be available to it.  

If you are involved in a complex support matter, please call us to see how we may be able to help you.

Case cited above: Johnson v. Johnson, 2016 Pa. Super. 294 (Pa.Super. 2016).

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