No. 2316 October Term, 1977, Appeal from Order entered August 9, 1977, Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, Criminal Division, at No. 477 June Term, 1969.
Lynne Z. Gold-Bikin, Norristown, for appellant.
Marvin Leonard Wilenzik, Norristown, for appellee.
Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Spaeth, J., concurs in the result. Price, J., files a dissenting statement. Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
[ 260 Pa. Super. Page 170]
This is an appeal from an Order of the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County, dismissing a Petition to Increase Support and granting a Petition to Vacate a Support Order.
Appellant and appellee were formerly married and the husband's (appellee's) contribution to the support of their child, Murray, constitutes the dispute in this appeal.
[ 260 Pa. Super. Page 171]
The husband appellee, as the result of three prior court orders dated November 7, 1969, July 22, 1971 and June 21, 1973, was obligated to pay Fifty ($50.00) Dollars per week towards his son's support. Murray became 18 years of age in April of 1977. He graduated from high school in June of 1977. The father appellee thereafter, in July, 1977, filed a Petition to Vacate the prior support orders asserting that due to the fact that Murray was no longer a minor and was employed, he (the father) no longer had the duty of support. The wife (appellant) countered by filing a Petition to Increase the existing support in view of the increased cost of living and the fact that Murray had enrolled in Villanova University.
Their petitions (and the accompanying answers) were argued before the lower court on August 9, 1977, at which time the judge dismissed the wife's petition for increased support and granted the husband's petition to vacate the prior support orders without a hearing.
The judge reasoned that since his son, Murray, was now an adult, the mother had no standing to seek support for him and that Murray should initiate his own petition for support in Philadelphia County, where the appellee resided. From that determination, the wife appealed.
There can be no question that a father may be obligated to provide support towards the college education of a child who has reached 18 years of age. See Commonwealth ex rel. Ulmer v. Sommerville, 200 Pa. Super. 640, 190 A.2d 182 (1963). Therefore, the only question to be determined in this appeal is in what jurisdiction should the question of the father's ability to provide this support be adjudicated.
The lower court judge reasoned that because the question of college support involved a unique situation relative to the existing support order, a new proceeding should be initiated and since Murray was no longer a "minor", he should institute his own action, ...