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Divorce Code: Recommended Amendments - Report of the Advisory Committee On Domestic Relations Law
Authorization: 1993 Senate Resolution 43, 1673

This is the first report of the Joint State Government Commission Advisory Committee on Domestic Relations Law. The advisory committee and task force were formed pursuant to 1993 Senate Resolution No. 43, Pr.'s No. 1673 (adopted February 1, 1994). Senate Resolution No. 43 directed the Commission to undertake an ongoing study of domestic relations law, but excluded the subjects of child abuse and adoption. This report is limited to recommended amendments to the Divorce Code with comments. The advisory committee is chaired by Judge Emanuel A. Bertin of Montgomery County. The task force, chaired by Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf, is comprised of the majority and minority chairs of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Senate and House Aging and Youth Committees.

The advisory committee decided that it would begin its review of domestic relations law with a reconsideration of the Divorce Code. In order to accomplish this review, the committee formed the following three subcommittees, based on the organizational structure of the Divorce Code:

Subcommittee on Dissolution of Marriage (Frederick N. Frank, Chair)

Subcommittee on Property Rights (John C. Howett Jr., Chair)

Subcommittee on Alimony (Ann L. Begler, Chair)

The recommendations contained in this report reflect the work of the three Divorce Code subcommittees. The report represents the consensus of the advisory committee gained after nine full advisory committee meetings, beginning in May 1995, and numerous subcommittee meetings. At its April 19, 1999 meeting, the task force received the advisory committee's report and authorized the transmittal of the report to the full General Assembly. Public hearings are planned on the proposed amendments.

Note that a separate report on Custody has been issued by the advisory committee.

The proposed amendments and the official comments of the advisory committee are set forth on the following pages. In order to place the proposed amendments in statutory context, they are set forth within a replication of the entire Divorce Code. The official comments may be utilized in determining the intent of the General Assembly. See 1 Pa.C.S. § 1939 and In re Martin's Estate, 365 Pa. 280, 74 A.2d 120 (1950).