Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee
The Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee advises the Supreme Court on matters related to the procedural rules governing actions for divorce, support, custody, paternity and protection from abuse.
The committee has ten members: two of the positions are reserved for the administrative judges of the family divisions of the Philadelphia and Allegheny Courts of Common Pleas and one position is reserved for a county court administrator.
The primary goal of the committee is to simplify family law practice by recommending new rules or amendments to existing procedural rules relating to family law matters. The committee reviews legislation and monitors court decisions to ensure that the rules conform to developments in the law and to the realities of family law practice. The committee strives to promote statewide uniformity of practice, to streamline procedures and to encourage the prompt disposition of family law matters.
Committee members and staff speak at conferences and seminars to inform lawyers, court personnel and others of recent and proposed changes in procedural rules related to family law matters. The committee strives to maintain open channels of communication with those who work with or are affected by the rules it proposes, including judges, lawyers, court administrators, domestic relations section personnel, the Department of Public Welfare and the public.
The committee originated in 1984 as a section of the Civil Procedural Rules Committee and became a separate committee in 1987. In 1997, the committee's title was changed to the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee.
Committee appointments are for three years with possible reappointment for a second three-year term. In special circumstances the Supreme Court may extend or reduce the term of an appointment. Committee members are appointed by the Supreme Court and are knowledgeable about the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure governing domestic relations matters and are experienced in family law practice in Pennsylvania. The Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee has nine voting members and one ex-officio member who is identified by, and is a member of, the Pennsylvania Association of Court Management.
Walter J. McHugh, Esq., Chair
Honorable Daniel J. Clifford, Vice Chair
Elisabeth Bennington, Esq.
Jennifer P. Bierly, Esq.
Honorable Kim D. Eaton
Lucille Marsh, Esq.
Honorable Margaret Theresa Murphy
David. S. Pollock, Esq.
William Schenk, Esq., ex officio
Honorable George W. Wheeler
Bruce J. Ferguson, Counsel
Suzanne M. Creavey, Assistant