April 23, 2013
Appeal from the Order Entered October 24, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County Civil Division at No(s): 011014-2001
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Olson, J:
NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION - SEE SUPERIOR COURT I.O.P. 65.37
BEFORE: BENDER, GANTMAN and OLSON, JJ.
JUDGMENT ORDER BY OLSON, J:
Appellant, W.J.B. ("Father"), appeals from an order appointing a guardian ad litem for M.B. ("Child"), Father's biological child with Appellee, N.L.C. ("Mother").*fn1
At all relevant times, Father and Mother were parties to a June 7, 2007 custody order which granted Mother primary custody of Child with Father receiving partial custody. On August 9, 2012, Father filed a motion for special relief alleging, inter alia, that he had not had contact with Child since December 16, 2011.
At a hearing on October 10, 2012, the trial court received testimony and evidence from the parties and, on October 24, 2012, the court issued an order appointing a guardian ad litem for Child. Father appealed the order appointing the guardian on November 21, 2012.
"[A]n appeal may be taken from: 1) a final order or an order certified as a final order [under Pa.R.A.P. 341]; 2) an interlocutory order as of right [under Pa.R.A.P. 311]; 3) an interlocutory order by permission [under Pa.R.A.P. 312]; or, 4) a collateral order [under Pa.R.A.P. 313]." In re Estate of Cella, 12 A.3d 374, 377 (Pa. Super. 2010). Under Rule 341, a final order is one that disposes of all the parties and all the claims, is expressly defined as a final order by statute, or is entered as a final order pursuant to the trial court's determination under Rule 341(c). Id. at 378. We have held that an order denying a parent's motion to appoint a guardian ad litem for a child in the context of a custody dispute did not constitute a final, appealable order. See Givens v. Givens, 450 A.2d 1386, 1388 (Pa. Super. 1982)
Applying these principles, the order appointing the guardian ad litem clearly was not final. The court's October 24, 2012 order did not address the substantive claims raised in Father's motion and it in no way prevents Father from pursuing the relief he requested in his filing. Moreover, when a final judgment has been entered in the trial court, Father will then have the opportunity to raise the issue of whether the trial court acted properly in appointing the guardian ad litem. Accordingly, we quash.