Rule 1920.55-3. Hearing Officers Report. Notice. Hearing De Novo. Final Decree.
(a) No record shall be made of the hearing in proceedings held pursuant to this rule.
(b) After the conclusion of hearing, the hearing officer shall:
(1) file the report within:
(i) twenty days in uncontested actions; or
(ii) thirty days 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 demand a hearing de novo.
(c) Within 20 days of the date the hearing officers report is mailed or received, whichever occurs first, any party may file a written demand for a hearing de novo. If a demand is filed, the court shall hold a hearing de novo and enter a final decree.
(d) If no demand for de novo hearing is filed within the 20-day period, the court shall review the report and recommendation and, if approved, shall enter a final decree.
(e) No Motion for Post-Trial Relief may be filed to the final decree.
The amendments create 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 1920.55-3 adopted September 11, 1995, effective January 1, 1996, 25 Pa.B. 4097; amended August 8, 2006, effective immediately, 36 Pa.B. 4709; amended October 19, 2021, effective January 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 6764. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (397007).
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