Adoption of New Civil Rules W1910.12, W1920.33, W1920.50, W1920.51, W1920.51a, W1920.53, W1920.54, W1920.55-2, and W1920.55-2a; No. 3 of 2004
[34 Pa.B. 2798]
And Now, this 7th day of May, 2004, It Is Hereby Ordered that Westmoreland County Rules of Civil Procedure W1910.12, W1920.33, W1920.50, W1920.51, W1920.51(4), W1920.53, W1920.54, W1920.55-1, and W1920.55-2 are rescinded, and that new Rules W1910.12, W1920.33, W1920.50, W1920.51, W1920.51a, W1920.53, W1920.54, W1920.55-2, and W1920.55-2a are adopted. In addition, current forms WF1920.50(f), Notice of Presentation and Order of Court are rescinded. New forms WF1920.50, Motion to Schedule All Counts Conciliation Conference, Order, and Marital Asset Liability Summary are adopted. Finally, all current forms numbered WF1920.50(g) will retain their current titles but be renumbered WF1920.50. The effective date of this Order is June 1, 2004.
By the Court
DANIEL J. ACKERMAN,
Rule W1910.12 Office Conference. Hearing. Record. Exception. Order.
(1) Hearings before a hearing officer will not be scheduled unless demanded. No demand for a hearing officer will be accepted if an agreement is reached at the office conference.
(2) When demanding a hearing before a hearing officer, the demanding party must pay costs in the amount of $50.00 to the domestic relations section. No hearing will be scheduled unless costs are paid within ten (10) days of the mailing of the interim order.
(3) The demanding party shall serve a copy of the demand for a hearing on the non-excepting counsel or party if not represented.
(4) The domestic relations section shall give each counsel or party if not represented notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
(1) Upon filing exceptions to the hearing officer's report, the excepting party shall:
A. Serve on the domestic relations section a copy of the exceptions and deposit $50.00 toward the cost of transcript preparation.
B. Serve a copy of the exceptions on the non-excepting counsel or party if not represented.
(2) The domestic relations section shall:
A. Notify the assigned judge, receive a time and date for the hearing on the exceptions, and notify all counsel of record, or parties, if not represented of the time and date of the hearing.
B. Bill the excepting party the balance of the transcription fee when the transcript is delivered.
(3) Oral arguments shall be restricted to issues addressed in written briefs filed as follows:
A. The excepting party must file a brief with a copy to the assigned judge and opposing counsel or party, if not represented, no later than 20 days before the hearing.
B. The non-excepting party must file a brief with a copy to the assigned judge and opposing counsel or party, if not represented, no later than 10 days before the hearing.
NOTE: The form of briefs is governed by W210.
W1920.33 Joinder of Related Claims. Distribution of Property. Enforcement.
(a) Each party in all cases in which a master has been appointed shall file a pre-trial statement, pursuant to Pa.R.C.1920.33(b). The original pretrial statement shall be filed with the prothonotary within 20 days of receipt of the order appointing the master. Each party shall serve copies of the pretrial statement on the master and opposing counsel, or on the unrepresented adverse party, by first class mail on the same day as filing.
(b) The exhibit list as set forth in [item 6 above] Pa.R.C.P. 1920.33(b)(4) shall be served in duplicate and shall be in substantially the following format:
Exhibit List Description Stipulated Authentic Stipulated Admissible Objection A. B. C. D. etc.
(c) Each party shall have 10 days from the date of receipt of the exhibit list to complete the exhibit list and to return the list to the other party.
(d) Failure to comply with this rule may be enforced by sanctions, with attorney's fees costs and expenses to be determined by the master or court.
Rule W1920.50 All Counts Conciliation Conference
(a) After completion of discovery and prior to the appointment of a master to take testimony on remaining issues pursuant to W1920.51, and after filing ''Addendum A'' substantially in the form prescribed by WF1920.50, and any attachments; the court shall order, upon the request of either party, an all counts conciliation conference.
(b) Either party may request an all counts conciliation conference by presenting or mailing to the family court administrator a Motion to Schedule All-Counts Conciliation Conference, Order, and a copy of Addendum A and any attachments. Upon receipt of the Motion to Schedule All Counts Conciliation Conference and Order, the family court administrator shall note the day and time of the conference on the original order, forward the motion and order to the court for signature, and file the original motion and order with the prothonotary. After filing the original motion and order, the family court administrator shall mail a copy of the motion and order to the moving party. The moving party shall then serve the non-moving counsel or party, if not represented, with a copy of the motion and order, Addendum A, and any attachments. A copy of the forms and attachments shall be served on the opposing counsel or party, if not represented, and on the family court administrator.
(c) In the event a party opposes the scheduling of the all counts conciliation conference, the party that wants an all counts conciliation conference may file and present to the Court a motion to proceed.
(d) The non-moving party shall file their Addendum A and any attachments at least twenty (20) days prior to the scheduled conference, and serve a copy of Addendum A and any attachments on the moving counsel or party, if not represented, and on the family court administrator.
(e) Both parties shall submit a written proposal for settlement at the time of the conference.
(f) Failure to file the required forms, attachments and proposals may result in sanctions.
NOTE: This rule requires the completion of an All Counts Conciliation Conference worksheet for submission with the written proposal for settlement. A sample of the Motion to Schedule All Counts Conciliation Conference and Order and the forms included in ''Addendum A,'' including the Income and Expense Statement, Inventory and Appraisement of Property and Marital Asset and Liability Summary forms are provided in the Forms section of the Westmoreland County Rules of Court.
Rule W1920.51 Hearing by the Court; Appointment of Master; Notice of Hearing
(a) Before any certificate of appointment shall be issued by the prothonotary to any master in those cases initiated by an uncontested complaint in annulment, or a section 3301 (a) or (b) divorce, or where an agreement has been reached by the parties on any such other claims that have been raised by the parties, the plaintiff shall deposit the sum of $138.00 with the prothonotary; $113.00 of the deposit shall be minimum fee for the master, and $25.00 shall be minimum fee for the stenographer. In addition, the plaintiff shall pay the prothonotary's fee. The court may order additional compensation for the master their report is filed.
(b) In all other cases, before any certificate of appointment shall be issued by the prothonotary to any master, the party moving for the appointment shall deposit an initial sum of $248.00 with the prothonotary; $223.00 shall be a minimum fee for the master, and $25.00 shall be a minimum fee for the stenographer. In addition, the moving party shall pay the prothonotary's fee. The initial deposit of $248.00 shall be for one-half days' work. For each half day thereafter the master shall receive a minimum fee of $150.00; and for each half day of transcribing, the stenographer shall receive a minimum fee of $20.00. The mast shall certify the time expended to the court. The master may petition the court for additional compensation after the report is filed.
(c) No master shall be appointed if a complaint in divorce has been filed under section 3301 (c) or (d) and no issues other than divorce are raised.
Note: Subsection (c) expands the prohibitions found at Pa. R.C.P. 1920.51(2) (ii) to include all Section 3301(d) divorces when divorce is the only issue raised.
(d) The master shall give the attorneys for each party at least 10 days' written notice of the time and place of taking testimony and of the claims the master will hear. If there is no appearance entered on behalf of the defendant, the master shall give notice to the defendant by registered mail, return receipt requested at the last known address of the defendant.
NOTE: See Pa.R.C.P. 1920.33(b) and W1920.33 for requirements regarding the mandatory filing of a pre-trial statement.
Rule W1920.51a. Hearing by the Court. All Counts Master. Notice of Hearing
All interim issues in a divorce action including the claim of alimony pendente lite, counsel fees, costs and expenses, and injunctive relief, when appointed to a master, shall be heard by the permanent all counts master.
(a) The all counts divorce master may address the amount of child support if the amount is consented to by the parties. If the parties do not agree to the amount of child support, the all counts divorce officer shall only take testimony on the claim of child support at the direction of the court, or in the event the support-hearing officer certifies a conflict.
(b) The all counts divorce master shall take testimony on claims for child support, alimony pendente lite, or counsel fees and expenses prior to taking testimony on any other claims.
(c) In the event the master does not complete taking testimony on all issues, the master shall prepare a report and order for those issues resolved or consented to, and schedule the remaining issues for a date and time certain. Exceptions may be filed pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1920.55-2 and W1920.55-2a.
Rule W1920.53. Hearing by Master. Report.
Subject to the direction and control of the court, the court appointed master shall have the usual powers of a referee in equity in regard to the detention of witnesses for examination and the general course of the proceedings. The master shall rule on objections to the competency or relevancy of testimony. If the master sustains the objection the testimony shall not be heard or reported. Parties may file exceptions to the master's rulings.
Rule W1920.54 Hearing by Master. Report. Related Claims.
Subject to the direction and control of the court, the all counts divorce master shall have the usual powers of a referee in equity in regard to the detention of witnesses for examination and the general course of the proceedings. The master shall rule on objections to the competency or relevancy of testimony. If the master sustains the objection the testimony shall not be heard or reported. Parties may file exceptions to the master's rulings.
Rule W1920.55-2 Master's Report. Notice. Exceptions. Final Decree.
(a) The excepting party shall serve a copy of exceptions on the family court administrator when filing the original exceptions to the report of a master appointed pursuant to W1920.51. Upon receiving exceptions pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1920.55-2(b) and (c), the family court administrator shall immediately schedule a hearing, mail notices of the hearing date to the parties by first class mail, and forward its copy of the exceptions to the assigned judge.
(b) The excepting party must file briefs with the assigned judge no later than 20 days before the hearing, and the non-excepting party must file its brief with the assigned judge no later than 10 days before the hearing.
(c) Oral argument shall be restricted to issues addressed in written briefs.
(d) If no party files Exceptions to the Master's Report within 10 days of the mailing of the report, the prothonotary shall immediately deliver the file to the court for entry of the decree.
(e) Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the prothonotary shall pay no master's fee until the master files the report and transcript of testimony. Failure of the master to file the report as required shall result in a forfeiture of the master's fee, and the prothonotary will refund the fee to the party who paid it.
Rule W1920.55-2a All Counts Master's Report. Notice. Exceptions. Final Decree.
(a) The all counts master's shall report pursuant to Pa.R.C.P.1920.55-2.
(b) When filing the original exceptions to an all counts master's report with the prothonotary, the excepting party shall also serve a copy on the family court administrator. The family court administrator shall immediately schedule the hearing on the exceptions upon receipt of the exceptions and the fifty (50) dollars deposit towards completion of the transcript required by subsection (c) below. The court administrator shall mail notices of the hearing date to the parties by first class mail before forwarding its copy of the exceptions to the assigned judge.
(c) The excepting party must request the transcript and make a deposit of fifty (50) dollars towards the preparation of the transcript pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 5000.5 and 5000.6. The final cost of the transcript will be billed against the excepting party at a rate of $2.00 per page less the fifty (50) dollars deposited. Failure to request or pay for the transcript may result in dismissal of the exceptions.
(d) The excepting party must file briefs with the assigned judge no later than 20 days before the hearing, and the non-excepting party must file its brief with the assigned judge no later than 10 days before the hearing.
(e) Oral argument shall be restricted to issues addressed in written briefs.
(f) If no party files exceptions within 10 days of the mailing of the report, the order shall be final.
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL ACTION--DIVORCE
Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) NO: ____ of 20 __ -D ) Defendant )
MOTION TO SCHEDULE ALL COUNTS CONCILIATION CONFERENCE
AND NOW, comes ______ , (Counsel for) (Plaintiff/Defendant), in the above-captioned divorce matter, and requests that an All Counts Conciliation Conference be scheduled in accordance with Westmoreland County, PA Local Rule 1920.50 with respect to the following claims:
____ Equitable Distribution
____ Counsel fees, costs and expenses
Your Movant acknowledges that Plaintiff's/Defendant's All-Counts Conciliation Conference form is filed of record and has been served on the opposing counsel/party; that discovery in this matter is complete; and that the non-moving counsel/party consents to this request.
Date Counsel for Plaintiff/Defendant
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL ACTION--DIVORCE
______ , ) Plaintiff, ) v. ) NO: ____ of 20 __ -D ) ______ , ) Defendant. )
ORDER OF COURT
AND NOW, to wit: this __ day of ______ 200 __ , it appearing that the parties are prepared to proceed with the economic claims pending between them; and it further appearing that it is consistent with the efficient administration of justice that the parties exchange information and documents prior to the All Counts Conciliation Conference; and at the request of ______ 's counsel, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND DECREED as follows:
1. that an All Counts Conciliation Conference is scheduled before the All-Counts Conciliation Master for ______ , the __ day of ______ , 200 __ , at ____ o'clock __ .M. The parties and their counsel are directed to attend.
2. that within 10 days of the date of the Order, the parties shall enter into a stipulation as to the date of separation. To the extent they cannot so stipulate, set forth by both parties. The non-requesting party shall also file their Addendum A and any attachments at least 20 days prior to the conference. Counsel shall certify service of these documents. Each party shall provide the other with the date each believes separation occurred, as well as the rationale therefore.
3. that at least 20 days prior to the conference set forth above, the parties shall exchange complete (e.g. including all schedules) personal federal income tax returns for the previous three years; a pay stub subsequent to the date of this Order containing year to date information, retirement account(s) information (including, but not limited to, ERISA, IRA, 401(d) and savings plan statements) and, to the extent applicable, summary plan descriptions for such accounts. Such retirement documents should be dated as close as is possible to the separation date. In the event the parties dispute the date of separation and such dispute may result in material and substantial difference in the valuation of retirement accounts, documents shall be exchanged for the dates of separation.
4. that the parties are not required to obtain expert valuations regarding any assets prior to the first conciliation. However, they shall discuss and attempt to reach agreement on all significant valuation issues, including, but not limited to, any disputes arising regarding retirement accounts; value of the marital residence and its contents; and the marital debt of the parties. To the extent that the parties are unable to reach agreement on any valuations issues, they are strongly encouraged to see an impartial appraiser to conduct a joint valuation to the disputed asset, and to stipulate to the results thereof.
5. that the parties are encouraged to jointly prepare a Marital Asset and Liability Summary substantially in the form of the attached example. If the parties are unable to do so, each party shall prepare his or her own Summary. Five (5) days prior to said conciliation, counsel shall serve on the family court administrator the summary and a written proposal for the resolution of the existing claims.
6. that absent compelling reasons, this case will not be continued within 30 days of the scheduled date.
Counsel and parties should note that failure to strictly comply with the terms of this Order may result in continuation of the conciliation, finds and/or counsel fees. Parties may not consent to waive any provision of this Order.
BY THE COURT:
cc: ______ (Counsel for) Plaintiff
______ (Counsel for) Defendant
MARITAL ASSET AND LIABILITY SUMMARY
Case Caption: __________
Date of Marriage: __________
Docket Number: __________
Date of Separation: __________
Plaintiff's Counsel: __________
Date of Divorce: __________
Defendant's Counsel: __________
Description of Property Husband's Wife's Lien Comments Value: Value: 1. 2. 3. 4. TOTAL:
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-939. Filed for public inspection May 28, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]
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