Can Post-Trial Motions Be Filed In Cases Involving An Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights ?

In re M.T., R.T., & H.T., Appeal of L.T., 414 Pa. Super. 372, 607 A.2d 271 (Pa. Super. 1992) was an appeal by a mother of three children, L.T., who was contesting the trial court's involuntary termination of her parental rights. L.T. raised a number of issues on appeal. Before turning to the issues on appeal, this Court noted that the trial court had appointed counsel to represent the children in the proceedings and commented that the advocacy of that counsel left much to be desired. Citing Pa.R.A.P. 302(a), the panel engaged in a discussion of whether the issues raised by the mother in her appeal had to be previously raised in order to preserve them for our review. The Court determined that, under the circumstances, the mother had sufficiently preserved her claims. Addressing the merits of the appeal in M.T., this Court found that the Chancellor's findings were supported by clear and convincing evidence; that the requisites for termination were established; and that the needs and welfare of the children would be best served by termination. In addressing whether the issues raised on appeal had been properly preserved, the panel in M.T. noted the conflict that existed concerning whether post-trial motions had to be filed in cases involving an involuntary termination decree. The panel ruled, however, that a resolution of that question was not necessary because exceptions had been filed raising the issues, the issues were raised in the Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal, pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b), and the trial court had addressed the issues in its opinion.