A bill was introduced earlier this week in New York that would make further changes to the state’s divorce laws. These changes are interesting in contrast to the current statutes and precedent in Pennsylvania.
One of the more interesting changes is that, if passed, the bill would do away with the longstanding precedent that, in New York, professional degrees are marital assets in the divorce context. This portion of the existing New York divorce statutes created huge issues for attorneys and litigants. In contrast, professional degrees are not considered an asset in Pennsylvania.
The new legislation would also set formulas to determine the amount and duration of post-divorce alimony awards. In Pennsylvania, alimony awards are not determined by formula, but by a set of factors to be considered by the court.
Additionally, alimony awards would no longer automatically terminate upon the receiving spouse’s remarriage. While the termination of alimony is negotiable in Pennsylvania, if awarded by the court, it generally terminates upon remarriage.
While it is not often that a client has the option of forum shopping between New York and Pennsylvania, these potential changes in New York may make New York a more attractive jurisdiction for some.