Appeal from the Order entered December 30, 1986 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Civil Division, at No. 80-C-3213. Appeal from the Order entered December 30, 1986 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Civil Division, at No. 80-C-3182.
B. Ryland Wiggs, III, Bethlehem, for appellant in Nos. 292 and 293 and appellee in Nos. 372 and 373.
Arthur L. Jenkins, Jr., Norristown, for appellant in Nos. 372 and 373 and appellee in Nos. 292 and 293.
McEwen, Olszewski and Del Sole, JJ.
[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 19]
On September 23, 1980, John Metzger, hereinafter referred to as "Husband", filed a complaint for divorce seeking equitable distribution. Two days later, Ana Maria Diaz Metzger, hereinafter referred to as "Wife", also filed a divorce complaint in which she sought equitable distribution, alimony pendente lite, alimony, counsel fees, and expenses. Upon request of Husband, a bifurcated divorce was granted; the decree of divorce pursuant to 23 P.S. § 201(d) of the Divorce Code was entered on December 28, 1984. The remaining disputes associated with the parties' divorce were referred to a Master. Following several hearings, the Master's Report and Recommendation was filed on December 23, 1985. Both parties proceeded to file exceptions to the Report. Following argument, the trial court filed an order and opinion on December 30, 1986.
Although raised by neither party, we must determine whether or not Wife has preserved the majority of the
[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 20]
issues she now advances on appeal. Pa.R.C.P. 1920.55 sets out the time limits to be followed when filing exceptions to a master's report:
[w]ithin ten days after notice of the filing of the master's report has been mailed, exceptions may be filed by any party to the report . . .
The record reveals that the Master's Report was filed and mailed to the parties on December 23, 1985. Timely exceptions were filed by Husband on December 31, 1985. However, Wife did not file her exceptions until January 3, 1986. Recently, in Sipowicz v. Sipowicz, 358 Pa. Super. 319, 517 A.2d 960 (1986), we held that a party's failure to file timely exceptions within ten days as required by Rule 1920.55 resulted in a waiver of those claims of error raised on appeal. Id., 358 Pa. Superior Ct. at 324, 517 A.2d at 963. Instantly, Wife's exceptions were filed 11 days after the Master's Report was mailed. Therefore, all of the issues which Wife could have raised in timely exceptions to the Master's Reports are now considered waived on appeal.*fn1
We are mindful, though, that no exceptions need be filed to preserve for appeal issues which claim that the trial court erred when it entered an order which altered the terms of the master's report and recommendation. This is based on the fact that Rule 1920.55(c) does not permit the filing of motions for post-trial relief after a decree has been
[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 21]
entered. Accordingly, the first opportunity to raise certain objections to the trial court's treatment of a divorce case is through a direct appeal. Such claims are therefore preserved. Benson v. Benson, 357 Pa. Super. 166, 515 A.2d 917 (1986).
As stated, supra, we shall not address the plethora of issues raised by Wife which challenge the trial court's adoption of particular portions of the Master's Report. However, Wife's issue with respect to the trial court's determination that she share in the costs associated with the parties' divorce is preserved insofar as the first time it ...