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MELANIE VERNA v. DANIEL VERNA AND SHIRLEY LUCAS. APPEAL DANIEL VERNA (07/17/81)

filed: July 17, 1981.

MELANIE VERNA,
v.
DANIEL VERNA AND SHIRLEY LUCAS. APPEAL OF DANIEL VERNA



No. 251 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, at No. D5074 of 1979.

COUNSEL

Michael J. Murphy, Munhall, for appellant.

Lowell T. Williams, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Spaeth, Shertz and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 514]

The appeal before us is from an order directing Daniel Verna (father), appellant, to make provision for his adult daughter, Melanie Verna (appellee), age twenty-four, to be included on his medical coverage under Blue Cross and Blue Shield; and, in addition, to pay her $50.00 per month for supplemental costs, prescriptions and deductible items not covered by said medical insurance.

Appellant is not resisting that part of the order relating to the medical insurance coverage as he contends that he has continuously included his daughter in such coverage. However, he does object to the monthly payment of $50.00 which he has been ordered to make. He contends that the evidence is insufficient to prove that his daughter is indigent and unable to work. Secondly, he asserts that his daughter is an emancipated adult who voluntarily left the home she had with her father, which is still open to her.

A review of the family relationships will be helpful in properly deciding the issue before us. Melanie lived with her father and stepmother for some time prior to 1976 and paid him $20.00 per month rent while she was employed. During part of that period of time, she was a student. She

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 515]

    graduated from South High School in 1973 and went to work for General Nutrition in Pittsburgh for approximately two and one-half years. In 1975 or 1976, she left her father's home and went to live with her natural mother. She secured an apartment of her own, spending about one-fourth of her time there, and three-fourths at her mother's home. Following the termination of her employment with General Nutrition, she undertook vocational training and was about to graduate with a certificate in beautician care when it became necessary for her to go into a hospital for tests. She has always been an epileptic with occasional seizures for which she has been attended by a Doctor Hersh Wachs once every six months since 1973. Between visits, she takes medication prescribed by Dr. Wachs to control her seizures. She is also being seen by Dr. Earle Heath for a duodinal ulcer, a high anxiety state and convulsions. She is seen by Dr. Heath two or four times a month at his office. He also prescribes certain medications. Additionally, on the recommendation of Dr. Wachs, she visits Chartiers Mental Health Clinic, where she is seen by a social worker four times a month. His bill is $50.00 per visit. For two and one-half to three years prior to the hearing, or as of some time in 1976, she has been receiving $330.86 per month in disability benefits based on her own Social Security coverage.

Undoubtedly, the presumption is when a child reaches majority, the duty of the parent to support that child ends. Commonwealth ex rel. Welsh v. Welsh, 222 Pa. Super. 585, 588, 296 A.2d 891, 893 (1972), citing, Commonwealth ex rel. O'Malley v. O'Malley, 105 Pa. Super. 232, 234, 161 A. 883, 884 (1932). Once the presumption arises, it is then incumbent upon the child to rebut that presumption. Commonwealth ex rel. Schulberg v. Hirsch, 236 Pa. Super. 179, 181-82, 344 A.2d 530, 531 (1975), citing, Colantoni v. Colantoni, 220 Pa. Super. 46, 281 A.2d 662 (1971). The duty to support the adult child continues where the child is physically or mentally feeble or otherwise unemployable. Commonwealth ex rel. Welsh v. Welsh, supra. The adult

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 516]

    child, however, has the burden of proving the conditions that make it impossible for her or him to be employed. Colantoni v. Colantoni, ...


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