Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Montgomery County, No. 81-19616.
Richard Sprague, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Larry I. Haft, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Wieand, Beck and Roberts, JJ.
[ 348 Pa. Super. Page 125]
Is an order denying a petition to bifurcate economic claims from a cause of action for divorce an appealable order? We conclude that it is neither final nor appealable; and, therefore, we quash the appeal taken from such an order.
Helen M. Beasley commenced an action in divorce against her husband, James E. Beasley, on October 29, 1981. She alleged that the marriage was irretrievably broken and
[ 348 Pa. Super. Page 126]
suggested that she would file an affidavit of consent after ninety days. Numerous ancillary petitions were thereafter filed and argued before the trial court. Decisions thereof were frequently appealed. On September 13, 1983, James Beasley filed a "Motion to Sever Divorce Claims From Other Claims, to Compel Helen M. Beasley to File an Affidavit of Consent, and to Enter a Final Divorce Decree." The trial court, after argument, entered an order denying the motion to sever. Beasley appealed.
It is "well settled that an appeal will lie only from a final order unless otherwise permitted by statute." Pugar v. Greco, 483 Pa. 68, 72, 394 A.2d 542, 544 (1978). See also: T.C.R. Realty, Inc. v. Cox, 472 Pa. 331, 337, 372 A.2d 721, 724 (1977); Sutliff v. Sutliff, 326 Pa. Super. 496, 499, 474 A.2d 599, 600 (1984); Praisner v. Stocker, 313 Pa. Super. 332, 336, 459 A.2d 1255, 1258 (1983). "A final order is one which usually ends the litigation, or alternatively, disposes of the entire case." Pugar v. Greco, supra, 483 Pa. at 73, 394 A.2d at 544-545. "Whether an order is final and appealable cannot necessarily be ascertained from the face of a decree alone, nor simply from the technical effect of the adjudication. The finality of an order is a judicial conclusion which can be reached only after an examination of its ramifications." Bell v. Beneficial Consumer Discount Company, 465 Pa. 225, 228, 348 A.2d 734, 735 (1975). See also: Pugar v. Greco, supra, 483 Pa. at 73, 394 A.2d at 545; Praisner v. Stocker, supra, 313 Pa. Super. at 337, 459 A.2d at 1258.
An order denying a petition to bifurcate economic claims from a divorce claim is not a final order. It does not decide or end either the divorce claim or the economic claim; and it does not put either party out of court. Even appellant concedes that the order denying bifurcation did not finally determine the pending action in which divorce and economic claims are still pending.
Appellant argues, however, that the order in this case is appealable under an exception to the final judgment rule adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States in Cohen v. ...