Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Family Division, at No. 573 of 1983
Bernard J. Rabik, Assistant Public Defender, Monaca, for appellants.
Patrick M. Cain, Aliquippa, appellee, in properia persona.
Cavanaugh, Brosky and Watkins, JJ.
[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 131]
This appeal is from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, awarding custody of two children to their natural father and visitation rights to the maternal grandparents. Appellants, maternal grandparents, contend that they were denied a fair hearing at the pre-trial custody conference, violating their due process rights. We hold that
[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 132]
due process rights did not attach at that point and, accordingly, affirm.*fn1
Appellants maintain that their due process rights were violated at the pre-trial conference with the Child Custody Conference Officer in that they were denied an opportunity to orally present their case.*fn2 (Written forms had already been submitted to the Conference Officer.)
The primary function of the Child Custody Conference Officer in Beaver County under Local Rule 1920.32 is to attempt to achieve an amicable resolution of child custody or visitation disputes -- obviating the need to resort to a contested proceeding.
When a claim is filed with the Prothonotary, a copy is sent to the Child Custody Conference Officer, who arranges a pretrial conference at which the claim and response are reviewed. The officer, in addition to questioning the parties regarding the dispute, attempts to find a solution which will be acceptable to all parties involved. If an agreement does not result, the officer submits a report to the court in which he presents the positions of all parties together with his own recommendation.
After reviewing this report, the trial court issues a proposed order. Critically, this ...