Rule 1920.55-2. Hearing Officers Report. Notice. Exceptions. Final Decree.
(a) After conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall:
(1) file the record and the report within:
(i) twenty days in uncontested actions; or
(ii) thirty days from the last to occur of the receipt of the transcript by the hearing officer or close of the record in contested actions; and
(2) immediately serve upon counsel for each party, or, if unrepresented, upon the party, a copy of the report and recommendation and written notice of the right to file exceptions.
(b) Within 20 days of the date of receipt or the date of mailing of the hearing officers report and recommendation, whichever occurs first, any party may file exceptions to the report or any part thereof, to rulings on objections to evidence, to statements or findings of fact, to conclusions of law, or to any other matters occurring during the hearing. Each exception shall set forth a separate objection precisely and without discussion. Matters not covered by exceptions are deemed waived unless, prior to entry of the final decree, leave is granted to file exceptions raising those matters.
(c) If exceptions are filed, any other party may file exceptions within 20 days of the date of service of the original exceptions. The court shall hear argument on the exceptions and enter a final decree.
(d) If no exceptions are filed, the court shall review the report and, if approved, shall enter a final decree.
(e) No Motion for Post-Trial Relief may be filed to the final decree.
The amendments created alternative procedures for appeal from the recommendation of a master in divorce. Rule 1920.55-1 states that, if the court chooses to appoint a master, the exceptions procedure set forth in Rule 1920.55-2 will be used unless the court has, by local rule, adopted the alternative procedure of Rule 1920.55-3.
The time for filing exceptions has been expanded from ten to twenty days. The purpose of this amendment is to provide ample opportunity for litigants and counsel to receive notice of the report and recommendation, to assure commonwealth-wide consistency in calculation of time for filing and to conform to applicable general civil procedural rules.
The provisions of this Rule 1920.55-2 adopted September 11, 1995, effective January 1, 1996, 25 Pa.B. 4097; amended August 8, 2006, effective immediately, 36 Pa.B. 4709; amended May 6, 2015, effective July 1, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 2457; amended October 19, 2021, effective January 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 6764. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (397006).
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