Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

D.M. v. V.B.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 3, 2014

D.M., Appellant
v.
V. B., Appellee

Argued: January 15, 2014.

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, Civil Division, No(s): 2013-00945. Before AUSTIN, J.

Jay M. Feinschil, Philadelphia, for appellant.

V.B., appellee, pro se.

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E, OTT and STRASSBURGER,[*] JJ. OPINION BY STRASSBURGER, J.

OPINION

Page 324

STRASSBURGER, J.:

D.M. (Appellant) appeals from the July 19, 2013 order denying his petition to determine

Page 325

paternity of three children: G.W., A.M., and D.R.M. We affirm.

The trial court summarized the history of this case as follows.

In 2000, Appellant and [V.B. (Appellee)] resided in the same household in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Appellee's son from another relationship when Appellant obtained custody of his [grandniece, A.M. (born in September 2000)]. By Order dated October 5, 2000, the Philadelphia Family Court granted Appellant sole physical and legal custody of [A.M.]. Appellant's nephew, [A.M.]'s biological father[,] was unable to care for [A.M.] because he was incarcerated for an assortment of criminal offenses. [A.M.]'s biological mother consented to relinquishing custody of [A.M.] to Appellant because she was physically and mentally unable to care for [A.M.]. In order to facilitate the prompt transfer of custody from [A.M.]'s biological mother, Appellant held himself out as [A.M.]'s biological father and permitted himself to be named as father in the Custody Order. The parties have been actively involved in [A.M.]'s life, raising her since Appellant obtained legal custody of [A.M.] as an infant.
On April 3, 2002, Appellant was granted sole physical and legal custody of his [granddaughter G.W. (born in April 1998)], by Order of the Philadelphia Family Court. Appellant took custody of [G.W.] when [a Nevada court] terminated the parental rights of [G.W.]'s biological father after he was convicted of murdering [G.W.]'s sister. [G.W.]'s biological mother willingly relinquished her parental rights thereafter. The parties have been in [G.W.]'s life, raising her since Appellant obtained legal custody of [G.W.] as a small child.
During the parties' live-in-together relationship, they had one child [D.R.M. (born in December 2003)]. After the birth of [D.R.M.], the parties married.... Appellant believed that [D.R.M.] was his biological daughter and held the child out as his own. In 2006, the parties moved to Norristown, Pennsylvania and continued to raise the children together. On April 15, 2011, the parties separated when Appellee, on behalf of [G.W., D.R.M.,] and herself, filed a temporary Protection from Abuse (" PFA" ) Order against Appellant, evicting Appellant from the parties' marital residence. On April 21, 2011, the Honorable Rhonda Lee Daniele granted a final PFA Order on behalf of [G.W. and D.R.M.] only.
On April 26, 2011, Appellee filed a Complaint for Support with the Office of Domestic Relations (" DRO" ), which was amended to include all three children on June 2, 2011. On June 2, 2011, Appellant, who was represented by counsel, signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity... acknowledging that he is the father of [A.M.] and [D.R.M.]. On June 30, 2011, the parties appeared at a Support Master's hearing before Master, Mindy A. Harris, Esquire (" Master Harris" ). Master Harris recommended Appellant pay $532.20 per month for [D.R.M.] plus $883.00 per month for [G.W.] and [A.M.] for a total child support amount of $1,418.20 per month for all three children. On July 25, 2011, [Appellant] filed Exception[s] in Support to the Master's recommendation. On October 7, 2011, the Honorable Gary S. Silow modified the Support Order by agreement of the parties. Appellant agreed to pay $1,018.20 per month for all three children. No appeal was taken from the October 7, 2011 Agreed Support Order. On June 4, 2012, Appellant filed a Petition to Modify Support, claiming he is not the biological father of the children and no longer their current custodian

Page 326

with DRO. On September 27, 2012, the parties, with their respective counsel, appeared before Master Harris. Master Harris dismissed Appellant's Petition to Modify Support because there had been no change in circumstance. Appellant did not file Exceptions to the Master's recommendation. To date, Appellant continues to pay $1,018.20 per month for all three children.

[Meanwhile, o]n May 27, 2011, Appellee filed separate Emergency Complaints for Physical and Legal Custody, seeking custody of [G.W. and A.M.]. On June 27, 2011, the parties filed a Temporary Agreed Custody Order, providing Appellee with physical custody of [G.W. and A.M.], the parties with shared legal custody[,] and Appellant with unsupervised visitation of all three children. On February 8, 2012, the parties appeared with counsel for a final hearing on Appellee's above Emergency Complaints for Physical and Legal Custody. On the same day, the parties entered into a final Agreed Order, providing the parties with joint legal custody, [and] Appellee with physical custody of the children until the conclusion of the 2011-2012 school year when Appellant would resume physical custody until Appellee found suitable living arrangements. Thereafter, the parties would share 50/50 physical custody of the three children.
On March 14, 2012, Appellee, on behalf of [A.M.], filed another PFA Order against Appellant. On March 24, 2012, Appellee also filed separate Emergency Petitions to Modify Custody. The parties appeared with counsel before [the trial court] for a hearing on Appellee's PFA Petition and Emergency Petitions to Modify Custody. At the hearing, the children testified that they no longer desired further contact with Appellant. At the conclusion of the hearing, the [trial court] granted Appellee's final PFA order on behalf of [A.M.]. In addition, the [trial court] issued a subsequent Custody Order by agreement of the parties, awarding Appellee sole physical and legal custody of all three children.
On January 4, 201[3], Appellant filed a Petition to Determine Paternity, seeking a paternity test for all three children. Appellant claimed that [] Appellee fraudulently deceived him into believing that [D.R.M.] was his biological issue. Appellant claimed that he had no duty to support children who are not his biological issue and with whom he has no custodial obligations. On February 19, 2013, Appellee filed an Answer with New Matter, claiming that Appellant is barred and estopped from denying paternity. On July 16, 2013, the parties appeared with their respective counsel before [the trial court] for a hearing on Appellant's Petition to Determine Paternity, In July 19, 2013, [the trial court] issued an Order, denying Appellant's Petition to Determine Paternity, thereby estopping Appellant from disestablishing paternity with respect to the children.
On August 16, 2013, [Appellant] filed a timely Notice of Appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court from [the trial ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.