Many people with significant wealth opt to enter into prenuptial agreements prior to getting married in an effort to protect their assets in the event of a divorce. While the courts generally favor upholding prenuptial agreements, in some circumstances, they will be deemed unenforceable and therefore void. In a recent opinion, a New York court discussed the grounds for finding a prenuptial agreement to be unconscionable in a divorce case in which the wife sought to have an agreement set aside and vacated. If you or your future spouse wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to marrying, it is important to speak to an experienced New York family law attorney regarding your options.

The Parties Prenuptial Agreement

It is reported that the parties entered into a prenuptial agreement in 2003, prior to getting married. The agreement contained provisions regarding separate property, child support, child custody, and estate and maintenance waivers. The husband paid for an attorney to represent the wife with regards to the agreement, but she did not choose the attorney and never met him prior to signing the agreement. Additionally, the attorney did not advise her of the financial implications of the agreement.

Allegedly, in 2019, the wife filed for divorce. During the proceedings, she filed a motion to have the agreement set aside as unconscionable and vacated. In response, the husband filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether the agreement was valid and enforceable. The court ultimately determined that an issue of fact that necessitated a hearing existed on the issue of the validity of the agreement. Continue reading

Many people who emigrate to New York from other places choose to file for divorce in their native countries to take advantage of favorable laws. Simply because one spouse obtains a divorce decree in another country does not mean that a party cannot litigate ancillary issues such as equitable distribution and spousal support, however. This was demonstrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court granted the wife’s request for equitable distribution and support after the husband obtained a foreign divorce decree. If your spouse filed for divorce in another country, you might nonetheless be able to have certain claims handled by a New York court, and it is smart to meet with a trusted New York divorce attorney to discuss your rights.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife were married in 1987 in Bangladesh. They moved to New York in 1994. In the fall of 2015, the wife filed a petition for divorce. However, the court noted that the husband had obtained a default judgment of divorce in Bangladesh earlier that year. Thus, the court scheduled a trial to determine issues such as equitable distribution and maintenance. Following the trial, the court equitably distributed the marital property and ordered the husband to pay monthly maintenance for a term of fourteen years. The husband appealed, arguing the foreign divorce decree barred the wife from litigating issues of equitable distribution and maintenance.

Equitable Distribution Following a Foreign Divorce Decree

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. Specifically, the court held that pursuant to New York law, the wife was not precluded from asking the court to rule on the issues of maintenance and the division of marital property. The court explained that New York’s domestic relations law requires a court to equitably distribute marital assets based on the circumstances of a particular action, which requires a consideration of numerous factors. Continue reading

Simply because a couple decides to end a marriage does not mean that the process of dissolving their relationship has to be contentious. Instead, many parties are able to resolve their disputes without the intervention of the courts and will negotiate a marital settlement agreement resolving issues of custody, support, and property division. Marital settlement agreements are usually incorporated into divorce decrees and enforced by the courts. In some instances, however, a court will find sufficient grounds to set aside a marital settlement agreement, as explained in a recent New York opinion. If you wish to end your marriage, it is prudent to meet with a skillful New York divorce attorney to assess your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife were divorced via a final judgment issued by the trial court in December 2016. Prior to the entry of the judgment, the parties entered into a marital settlement agreement, which was incorporated but not merged into the judgment. In June 2018, the trial court set forth an order finding that the husband owed the wife over $100,000 in child support and directing an entry of a money judgment against the husband.

Allegedly, the husband then filed an action asking the court to set aside the marital settlement agreement on the grounds of duress, fraud, overreaching, coercion, and unconscionability. The husband also filed a motion to stay the trial court order, after which the wife filed a motion to dismiss the husband’s action. The court denied the wife’s motion, after which she appealed. Continue reading

In many marriages, one spouse acquires or saves substantially greater assets than the other. When such marriages end in divorce, the court may grant a lesser share of marital assets to the less affluent spouse. In other words, a court’s equitable distribution of marital property does not necessarily result in an equal division but in a disposition that the court deems fit under the circumstances of the case. A court’s discretion in dividing community assets was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a New York court, in a case in which the husband’s wealth far exceeded the wife’s. If you are contemplating filing for divorce, it is advisable to speak to a seasoned New York divorce attorney to discuss what to expect in terms of equitable distribution of your marital estate.

History of the Case

It is reported that the wife filed for divorce from the husband. Due to the complexities of the marital estate, a bifurcated trial was issued to determine what constituted marital versus separate property and how any marital property should be divided. Following the trial, the court issued a judgment equitably distributing the estate and issuing spousal and child support awards. The parties both filed appeals, but the trial court’s rulings were modified but affirmed on appeal.

While many people think of obtaining a divorce as a long and contentious process, in some instances, parties can dissolve their marriages in a relatively seamless manner via an uncontested divorce. There are certain requirements that must be met for a couple to be eligible for an uncontested divorce, though, including that they must agree on key issues such as child custody, support, and property division. If the parties cannot come to an agreement on such matters, they must proceed with a contested, litigated divorce, and one party cannot unilaterally deem a divorce uncontested. Recently, a New York court explained the grounds for vacating an order granting an uncontested divorce, in a case in which it was fraudulently represented that the divorce was uncontested. If you wish to end your marriage, it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable New York divorce attorney to evaluate your options and whether you may be able to seek an uncontested divorce.

History of the Case

It is alleged that in 2010, a divorce petition seeking to dissolve the marriage of the husband and the wife was filed in a New York Supreme court and that subsequent documents were filed in the case averring that the divorce was uncontested. Thus, a final judgment of divorce was issued in February 2011. In April 2020, the wife filed a motion asking the court to vacate the judgment of divorce, alleging that the filings were fraudulent in that they contained forgeries of her purported signature.

Reportedly, the court then scheduled an evidentiary hearing to address the wife’s allegations. Prior to the hearing, however, the court received stipulations affirming that the divorce documents did not contain the wife’s or the husband’s authentic signatures. Both parties claimed ignorance regarding how or why the divorce petition and subsequent pleadings came to be filed. Regardless, though, the court concluded that the judgment of divorce was fraudulently obtained.

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During the Pandemic, more companies are offering employees stock options and other stock awards instead of regular compensation. Such assets are not easy to uncover during a divorce process. There are certain things you can do to find out whether your spouse is hiding an employer stock plan and ensuring that you receive an equitable distribution of those assets.

It is essential to retain a divorce lawyer in NYC to help you find the hidden assets of your spouse and an expert to perform a financial analysis of them.

The following documents will help you determine whether your spouse has stock options or restricted stock options awards from his employer.

While child support is meant to provide financial means to care for a child whose parents do not live together, it nonetheless must be fair and reasonable. As such, if the party that is paying or receiving support experiences an event or life change that affects his or her finances, it may be grounds for the modification of a support award. In a recent child support case in New York, the court discussed when a modification of a child support obligation is warranted and what the party seeking the modification must prove. If you or your co-parent are obligated to pay child support, and either of you experienced a change in circumstances, you should speak to an experienced New York child support attorney to assess your rights.

Factual History

It is reported that the mother and father married in 2002 and had a child in 2003. They entered into a separation agreement in 2014 that, in part, imposed a child support obligation on the father. The agreement was modified in 2015, and both the agreement and the addendum were incorporated into the judgment of divorce the court issued later that year.

Allegedly, in 2017, three separate actions related to child support were filed by the parties. Specifically, the father filed a request for a downward modification of his support obligation, the mother filed a pleading regarding the father’s failure to comply with his support obligation, and a second pleading asking the court to hold him in willful contempt for failing to pay. On each of the pleadings, the court found in favor of the mother. The father then appealed, arguing the court erred in denying his request for a downward modification.

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Typically, when a child support order is entered, it aims to meet the child’s needs at that time. As circumstances change, however, it may become necessary to modify a parent’s financial obligation. The court can only consider certain factors in determining what constitutes an appropriate increase in support, though, as demonstrated by a recent New York case. If you are subject to a child support order and you or your co-parent wish to seek a modification, it is critical to meet with a trusted New York child support attorney to assess what evidence the court may weigh in making a determination.

Factual History

It is reported that the mother and the father married in 2001 and had two children. They decided to divorce and, in 2009, entered into a stipulation that was incorporated into their divorce judgment. Pursuant to the stipulation, the mother had residential custody of the children, and the father agreed to pay approximately $800 per month in child support. The stipulation also stated that the parties would confer and agree on extra-curricular activity costs.

Allegedly, in 2015 the father consented to a $1,000 monthly increase to his support obligation. In 2018, the mother sought a second increase, arguing that it was warranted because of increased costs due to the children’s participation in extracurricular activities. The court granted the mother’s petition, ordering the father to pay approximately $650 per week. The father appealed.

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It is not uncommon for parents who share custody of a child to have disparate incomes. Thus, in many instances, one parent will be required to pay child support to his or her co-parent. In general terms, New York courts calculate child support obligations based on the income of both parents. As discussed in a recent New York family law case, however, income is not solely defined as income earned through employment but can include income from other sources as well, such as money from a significant other. If you or your child’s co-parent wish to seek child support, it is advisable to speak to an experienced New York child support attorney to discuss what you can do to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and father were married in 2003 and had two children during their marriage. In 2013, the father filed for divorce. The parties came to an agreement with regards to custody but agreed to allow the court to determine property division and financial matters. The court subsequently awarded the mother $1,770 in monthly child support, based on the mother’s imputed annual income of $25,000 and the father’s imputed annual income of $75,000, after which both parents appealed.

Imputed Income in Child Support Cases

Under New York law, a court has broad discretion with regards to imputing income when calculating an appropriate amount of child support and is not limited to what the parties represent with regards to their finances. Specifically, a court may impute income based on a parent’s future earning capacity, employment history, educational background, and money received from friends and family. In imputing income to a parent, however, a court must provide a record that clearly indicates the source of the imputed income, the reasons for imputing income to the parent, and the calculations that resulted from the imputed income.

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Simply because a marriage is ending does not mean that there is animosity and discord. Rather, many married couples mutually agree that their marriage should end and on the terms of their divorce. Thus, in some cases, a couple can seek an uncontested divorce. Simply because parties agree that they should end their marriage does not mean that they should proceed without an attorney, however, and it is prudent for people seeking a contested or uncontested divorce to retain an experienced New York divorce attorney to protect their rights.

Eligibility for an Uncontested Divorce

First, anyone seeking a divorce in New York must meet the residency requirement. This means that either the person or his or her spouse must have been living in New York for a minimum of two continuous years prior to filing for divorce, or that either spouse lived in New York for at least one continuous year and either got married in New York, lived in New York while married, or the grounds for the divorce took place in New York. Lastly, the residency requirement will be met if both spouses are residents of New York on the day the divorce action is filed, and the grounds for the divorce occurred in New York State.

If residency requirements are met, a petition for an uncontested divorce can be filed if both parties agree on several key factors. Specifically, both parties must agree to divorce and for the grounds of the divorce. They must also come to an agreement regarding how any marital property or debt should be divided, and whether either spouse should pay spousal support. In cases in which a couple has minor children, the parties must also come to an agreement regarding custody of the children and parenting time, and whether either parent will be required to pay child support, and if so, the amount of the support.

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