Is an order finding standing in a custody action appealable as a collateral order?

A.M.D v. A.L.R, Order quashing appeal, No. 1449 MDA 2022 (Pa. Super. Nov. 14, 2022) (unreported), allocatur granted Feb. 13, 2023, appeal docket 13 MAP 2023

On October 7, 2022, a trial court entered an order finding that A.L.R. (Appellees) has standing in the underlying child custody action; prior to final resolution of the custody action, A.M.D. (Appellants) filed an appeal of the order with Superior Court. Superior Court entered a Rule to Show Cause directing Appellants to show cause as to the appealability of the October 7, 2022. The Rule provided:

This appeal has been taken from the October 7, 2022 order in custody that finds that the Appellees have standing in this custody action. The October 7, 2022 order does not appear to be a final order in custody. See Pa.R.A.P. 341(b)(1) (a final order is any order that disposes of all claims and of all parties); Beltran v. Piersody, 748 A.2d 715 (Pa. Super. 2000) (an order granting a petition to intervene in an ongoing custody case is interlocutory and unappealable until the custody claims have been resolved); see also G.B. v M.M.B., 670 A.2d 714 (Pa. Super. 1996) (a custody order is final and appealable after the trial court has concluded its hearings on the matter and the resultant order resolves the pending custody claims between the parties.). Instantly, it appears that there are outstanding custody claims still before the trial court. Therefore, the October 7, 2022 order does not appear final or otherwise appealable.

Docket Sheet at 3. On November 14, 2022, Superior Court entered an order sua sponte quashing Appellants’ appeal, “given that it does not appear the October 7th Order is final or otherwise appealable,” on the basis set forth in the Superior Court’s Rule to Show Cause, further noting that “Appellants filed a response but did not present a legal basis for this Court’s jurisdiction.”  Docket Sheet at 4.

The Supreme Court granted review, limited to the following issue:

Whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should exercise judicial discretion and grant an appeal to Petitioners, as the trial court’s order was appealable as of right under [Pa.R.A.P 313], as a collateral [order]?


For more information, contact Kevin McKeon or Dennis Whitaker.