April 27, 1984
DOUGLAS E. CRUMLEY, APPELLANT
GALEN WEABER AND PATRICIA WEABER, APPELLEES
No. 377 Harrisburg 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 16 of 1979.
Before Wickersham, Del Sole And Montemuro, JJ.
Our research has failed to disclose any appellate court decision dispositive of the question concerning whether exceptions must be filed to an order setting aside, or refusing to set aside, an adoption decree. Consequently, we must make an analysis based on The Pennsylvania Rules of Court.
Rule 7.1 of the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules reads as follows:
RULE 7. EXCEPTIONS
Exceptions shall be filed at such place and time, shall be in such form, copies thereof served and disposition made thereof as local rules shall prescribe.
Turning to the local rules, we see that Rule 1.2 of the Lebanon County Orphans' Court Division states that:
b. The Pleadings and practice in the Orphans' Court Division shall conform to the pleadings and practice in equity as provided in Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. (Emphasis added)
c. Exceptions may be filed to any adjudication, order or decree not later than ten days after the date thereof, and in the absence of exceptions filed within said period of time, said adjudication, order or decreee shall be final and definitive. (Emphasis added)
Comment: The foregoing rule was amended to avoid premature appeals and to prevent hearings on adoptions until after the appeal time has expired in cases involving the involuntary termination of parental rights. See, In Re: Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights to B.M.D. and R.L.D., Pa. Supreme, December 21, 1979, 409 A.2d 404. See also, Fiduciary Review, April, 1980.
While it is true that the purpose for amending the rule, as stated in the comment, was to prevent premature appeals in cases involving involuntary termination of parental rights, it does not follow that the rule only applies in those situations. The rule itself does not say that, and its text clearly speaks in much broader terms.
For these reasons, I would quash the appeal for failure to file exceptions.
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