Myra J. CLINE, Petitioner Below, Appellant,
H. Richard HARTZLER, Respondent Below, Appellee.
Appeal from the Orphans' Court in and for New Castle County.
Thomas S. Lodge, of Connolly, Bove & Lodge, Wilmington, for appellant.
Harvey Porter, of Biondi & Porter, Wilmington, for appellee.
WOLCOTT, C.J., and CAREY and HERRMANN, JJ., sitting.
This is an appeal by Cline, the petitioner mother, from an order refusing to terminate Hartzler's, the father, parental rights in their son, Andrew.
Cline and Hartzler were formerly husband and wife. Born to the marriage in 1956 was the child in question. In 1961, Cline and Hartzler were divorced and the child lived with the mother except for a period from February, 1962 to June, 1963, when he lived with his father.
Cline was awarded legal custody of Andrew in the divorce proceedings. Thereafter, Cline and Hartzler agreed in 1962 that Andrew would live with Hartzler, and that another child would live with Cline and her new husband.
The parties originally lived together as husband and wife in West Virginia. Cline moved to Delaware with her new husband. In June, 1963 Andrew came to Delaware for a two-week visit with Cline. Thereafter, Cline refused to return Andrew to Hartzler.
Cline, in her appeal, contends that Hartzler abandoned Andrew within the meaning of 13 Del.C. § 1101, which provides, Inter alia:
' § 1101. Definitions
'As used in this chapter--
"Abandoned' shall be interpreted as referring to any child who, for a period of one year, has not received any regular and reasonable financial help from or any substantial visits from his parent or parents or any person having parental rights or responsibility and on whose behalf no substantial contracts have been initiated by his parent * * *.'
The testimony was, on behalf of Cline, that Hartzler had not contributed anything toward Andrew's support since June, 1964, although prior to that date sporadically ...