In a decision of first impression, a Manhattan Court held that the Domestic Relations Law's Automatic Orders enacted in 2009 properly halts a partition action in another State. In the recent case of R.P. v. L.P., a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice issued an order in a divorce action enjoining a Husband from commencing a partition action in Pennsylvania with respect to property owned with his wife and his mother-in-law, even though he did not seek a partition between himself and his wife but only between the couple and his mother-in-law.
In the New York divorce action, the Judge previously issued an order quashing the husband's subpoenas on his in-laws concerning the Pennsylvania property and stated that it was unlikely that she would award the Pennsylvania property to the husband but that he could be entitled to distribution based upon his share of the property. Immediately following that order, the husband sought to file an action in Pennsylvania seeking partition of the property between the couple and his mother-in-law. In effect, he sought to compel the sale of the property and division of the proceeds from the sale in an effort to "side-step" the Manhattan Court's ruling.
The New York Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the husband from proceeding with the partition action holding that the partition action would effectively result in one or more of the actions prohibited by the Automatic Orders. The Court went on to hold that the partition action is proper only after the resolution of the parties' claims as against each other as to equitable distribution. This case highlights the importance of discussing with an attorney your rights and obligations under the Automatic Orders that are in place after the commencement of a divorce action.