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DEUSSING v. DEUSSING (06/14/73)

decided: June 14, 1973.

DEUSSING
v.
DEUSSING, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Family Court Division, of Philadelphia, Nov. T., 1971, No. 2046, in case of Charles R. Deussing v. Anneliese K. Deussing.

COUNSEL

Joyce Ullman, for appellant.

Maxwell P. Gorson, with him Goldberg & Gorson, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Watkins, Jacobs and Spaulding, JJ., dissent.

Author: Hoffman

[ 224 Pa. Super. Page 526]

Appellant-wife contends that the lower court erred in denying her petition to remand this case to the Master for the purpose of allowing her to present a defense to the husband-appellee's divorce action.

The husband's complaint was served on the wife in November of 1971, and her attorney entered an appearance for her at that time. The Master scheduled a

[ 224 Pa. Super. Page 527]

    hearing for June 2nd.*fn1 On that date, wife's counsel was out of town on vacation. When informed of this at the June 2nd hearing, the Master proceeded to hear the testimony of the husband with respect to jurisdictional facts only, and continued the hearing to June 22, 1972.

Counsel for the wife, prior to and at the June 22nd hearing, requested that the hearing be continued until the outstanding counterclaim could be served on the husband, and the court disposed of the rule and petition for costs.*fn2 The request was granted, and the Master orally rescheduled the hearing for August 22.*fn3 He stated, however, that no written notices would be sent. The wife did not attend the June 22nd hearing because her attorney had advised her that a continuance would be granted. As a result, she was unaware that a hearing on the merits would be held in August.

The August hearing was attended only by the husband and his counsel. After waiting one half-hour for the wife, the Master proceeded to take the husband's testimony. The Master subsequently filed his report, recommending that a final decree of divorce be entered in favor of the husband on the grounds of desertion and indignities to the person. The wife filed exceptions to

[ 224 Pa. Super. Page 528]

    these recommendations and a petition to return the case to the Master to allow ...


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