Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Family Division, No. 74-03658.
Caryl A. Oberman, Philadelphia, for appellant.
William J. Barker, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellee.
Cirillo, President Judge, and Rowley and Beck, JJ.
[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 77]
Appellant is a nineteen year old, mentally retarded woman who seeks relief from the trial court's order, entered in a custody proceeding, that she visit her mother, undergo a psychological examination, and attend family counseling. In this appeal, appellant argues, inter alia,*fn1 that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction since she was eighteen years old at the time the trial court issued its order and was no longer a "child" as defined by statute.
Appellant's parents were separated in 1973 and divorced in 1974. Appellant lived with her mother from 1973 to 1980, visiting her father on alternate weekends. In 1980,
[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 78]
father sought custody of appellant. For the next two years, appellant spent time with both parents. In 1982, the parents agreed that each of them would have custody of appellant for alternating six month periods, and that appellant would visit the non-custodial parent every other weekend. A court order was entered upon this agreement in 1983.
At the end of father's custodial period, he requested mother to allow appellant to remain in his custody with his wife and their two children. Mother agreed, but continued to visit appellant on alternate weekends. In 1985, about the time that appellant turned eighteen years old, she refused to visit her mother. Mother then filed a petition for contempt against father. A hearing was held on this matter on December 20, 1985. Though father received notice of the hearing, appellant did not, nor was she individually represented by counsel at the hearing. However, she did testify regarding her desire not to visit her mother.
The trial court found that appellant had been strongly influenced by father to reject mother and thus entered an order imposing the obligations previously mentioned upon appellant. Appellant filed a timely appeal from this order. In both her brief to this Court as appellee and in a subsequently filed motion to quash, mother asserts first, that appellant was never a party to the trial court action and thus lacks standing to appeal under Pa.R.A.P. 501, and second, that appellant waived her issues by failing to raise them in the trial court. Father has taken no action in this appeal.
We first address the standing issue raised by mother. The relevant rule in this Commonwealth is stated in Newberg by Newberg v. Board of Public Educ., 330 Pa. Super. 65, 478 A.2d 1352 (1984): "an appeal by one who is not a party to a proceeding in the trial court must be quashed." Id., 330 Pa. Superior Ct. at 68-69, 478 A.2d at 1354 (citations omitted). See also Pa.R.A.P. 501. It is undisputed that appellant was ...