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JOSEPH J. CONRAD v. EMILY L. CONRAD (12/18/81)

filed: December 18, 1981.

JOSEPH J. CONRAD, APPELLANT,
v.
EMILY L. CONRAD



No. 313 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Allegheny County at No. 693 October Term 1979.

COUNSEL

John R. DeAngelis, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

June S. Schulberg, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Price, Spaeth, Hester, Cavanaugh, Wickersham, Brosky, DiSalle, Johnson, Montemuro, Popovich, Shertz and Wieand, JJ. Popovich, J., files a concurring statement. Wieand, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Hester, J., joins. Shertz, J., files a dissenting statement.

Author: Spaeth

[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 560]

This is an appeal from an order granting an application that a pending action in divorce proceed under the Divorce Code of 1980*fn1 instead of the Divorce Act of 1929.*fn2 In Toll v. Toll, 293 Pa. Superior Ct. 549, 439 A.2d 712 (1981), which is a case companion to this one and which is being filed today, we hold that an order granting such an application for transfer is interlocutory. However, unlike the lower court in Toll, here the lower court certified its order pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 702(b), and we granted permission to appeal. This appeal is therefore properly before us. In Gordon v. Gordon, 293 Pa. Superior Ct. 491, 439 A.2d 683 (1981), which is another case companion to this one and which is also being filed today, we prescribe the procedure to be followed, and the factors to be considered, in ruling upon an application that a pending action proceed under the Divorce Code. Here the lower court ruled upon the application in the manner prescribed in Gordon. We therefore affirm.

Appellant and appellee were married in 1947 and have seven children. Appellant left appellee in July 1979, and in August 1979 he filed for divorce, claiming indignities. As of July 1, 1980, three master's hearings had been held and the record closed, but the master had not yet filed his report. Some time in July*fn3 appellee filed an application that the action proceed under the Divorce Code. On August 13 appellant filed a memorandum of law in opposition to appellee's application, and on September 3 appellee filed a brief in support of her application. On September 12 the lower court ordered the matter for argument before the court en

[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 561]

    banc on September 23, and after argument, on November 24 entered its order granting the application. On December 19 the court certified its order pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 702(b), and on March 12, 1981, at No. 1227 Miscellaneous Docket, we granted permission to appeal.

Section 103 of the Divorce Code of 1980 provides that "upon application granted," an action pending on the effective date of the Code, July 1, 1980, shall proceed under the Code instead of under the Divorce Law of 1929. In Gordon v. Gordon, supra, we prescribe the manner in which a court should rule upon such an application. If one party opposes the application, the court must ensure that that party has the opportunity to raise objections. Id., 293 Pa. Super. at 506 n. 6, 439 A.2d at 690 n. 6. In ruling upon the objections, the court's range of discretion is extremely narrow, being limited to a consideration of whether granting the application will be consistent with the objectives described in section 102 of the Divorce Code.

If granting the application will further those objectives, the court should grant the application; if granting the application will be inconsistent with those objectives, the court should deny the application.

Id., 293 Pa. Super. at 506, 439 A.2d at 690.

Also, we recognize in Gordon that when an application is filed at a late stage of the litigation, certain economic consequences may have ensued. We hold, however, that such consequences are not pertinent to the decision whether to grant the application, for if the application is granted, they may be taken into account in deciding ...


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