No. 680 Pittsburgh 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Washington County, No. 63-80-1264.
Clarence A. Crumrine, Washington, for appellant.
Eric J. Held, Washington, for appellees.
Frank Carl Roney, Jr., Canonsburg, for participating party.
Popovich, Montgomery and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 317 Pa. Super. Page 475]
This is an appeal by F.L.D., natural father of M.A.D., from an order terminating his parental rights under 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(a)(1).*fn1 Appellant raises the following issues in this appeal: (1) the trial court's decision is not based on clear and convincing evidence; (2) § 2511(a)(1) is unconstitutionally vague; and (3) § 2511(a)(1) permits an unconstitutional state intrusion into the parent-child relationship. We disagree and affirm.
[ 317 Pa. Super. Page 476]
M.A.D., born May 21, 1972, is the only child of the marriage between appellant and K.D.G., the petitioner herein. Appellant and K.D.G. separated approximately a year after M.A.D.'s birth and were divorced on October 7, 1975. K.D.G. has had continuous custody of M.A.D. since his birth. In 1978, K.D.G. married C.G., who desires to adopt the child.
From the time of separation until February 1976, appellant visited his son frequently and made support payments of $15.00 per week. Since K.D.G. was receiving public assistance, these support payments were turned over to the welfare agency. In February 1976, the support payments stopped. When K.D.G. questioned appellant about support, he told her he had quit his job and had no money. Appellant testified to telephone conversations with K.D.G. in February and June of 1976, although K.D.G. recalled only the conversation in June. She did, however, admit that she refused appellant's oral request for visitation. Among the reasons K.D.G. felt justified her refusing visitation were that appellant told her he had quit his job and was living in a "store-front" church in a rather undesirable neighborhood and that since appellant was taking the child from New Jersey (where K.D.G. lived) to Pennsylvania (where appellant lived), she was afraid she might have trouble getting the child back. From June 1976 until the initiation of the present proceedings in August 1980, neither K.D.G. nor M.A.D. had any direct contact with appellant. Appellant did, apparently, attempt to enforce visitation through the courts because K.D.G. received notice of a hearing in December 1977 and an informal conference in July 1978.*fn2 She did not attend either and nothing further was forthcoming from the court. After F.L.D. received notice of the instant proceeding, he deposited $3,885.00 with his attorney, claiming that he had paid $15.00 per week support into an
[ 317 Pa. Super. Page 477]
"escrow" fund kept at his residence because he could not locate K.D.G.*fn3
Appellant testified that he had no intention of abandoning his parental rights and that K.D.G. had told him several times that she would find a new father for M.A.D. Appellant also presented the testimony of a clinical psychologist who concluded that F.L.D.'s personality traits were such that when he was rebuffed in his requests for visitation, he ceased making attempts ...