Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Civil Division, No. 83-20, 895
U. Horton Anniken, Lewistown, for appellant.
John R. Bonner, Williamsport, for appellee.
Tamilia, Montgomery and Roberts, JJ. Roberts, J., dissents.
[ 345 Pa. Super. Page 359]
This appeal was taken from an Order by the lower court, affirming the Order of the hearing officer, which dismissed an action of support as having been brought more than two years after an acknowledgement of paternity and beyond the six year period for bringing such actions as provided in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6704(e). Section 6704(b), dealing with commencement of support actions or proceedings, states:
(b) All actions or proceedings to establish the paternity of a child born out of wedlock brought under this section must be commenced within six (6) years of the birth of the child, except where the reputed father shall have voluntarily contributed to the support of the child or shall have acknowledged in writing his paternity, in which case an action or proceeding may be commenced at any time within two (2) years of any such contribution or acknowledgement by the reputed father.
The undisputed facts of this case are that Shannon Grassmyer was born to appellant, Christina Grassmyer, on August 1, 1975. On September 19th of that year, appellee allegedly executed a document acknowledging paternity and
[ 345 Pa. Super. Page 360]
agreeing to assume liability for support of the infant. The document was never incorporated into a Court Order for support, the parties were never married and there is no evidence that appellee has ever paid any support.
On July 27, 1983, just four days shy of the child's eighth birthday, appellant commenced an action for support. Following a hearing on May 1, 1984, a family court hearing officer found, that since the action was not filed within six (6) years of the child's birth, or within two (2) years of the alleged acknowledgement, and finding no evidence of any contribution or acknowledgement within the two (2) years preceding the hearing date, the complaint must be dismissed.
Exceptions were timely filed which alleged the acknowledgement operated as a waiver of the six year statute of limitations, therefore, estopping appellant from raising the statute of limitations because he acknowledged paternity. On August 28, 1984, the hearing judge overruled the exceptions, affirmed the hearing officer's order and dismissed the complaint. It is from that Order that this appeal was taken. Since our research indicates that this issue has not previously been addressed by this Court, we seek to clarify it here.
A brief review of the statutory history of this section and companion sections in the Criminal Code will serve to clarify the legislative intent ...