People who share custody of a child often live in the same city, and in some cases, they may include a provision in their custody agreement that requires them to live within a certain geographical area. Circumstances can change, however, and one parent may wish to move to another location. In such instances, the court typically must evaluate whether the geographical restriction is in the best interest of the child, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is smart to contact a New York divorce lawyer to discuss your options for protecting your parental rights.

The Subject Agreement

Reportedly, the husband and wife entered into a marital settlement agreement that provided they would share custody and enjoy equal visitation time with their children. The agreement also dictated that they would reside in the same geographic location. Subsequently, the husband relocated to a home outside of the area defined by the agreement and filed an application to modify the agreement. The wife then filed an affidavit seeking enforcement, a recalculation of child support, and changes in the visitation schedule. She requested primary full custody of the children as well.

Geographical Restrictions in Custody Cases

In evaluating the parties’ applications, the court noted that the relief requested by the mother could only be granted if there was a change in the circumstances and the modifications sought would be in the best interest of the children. The court determined that the father’s relocation outside of the geographic area set forth in the agreement constituted a change in circumstances sufficient to warrant such relief, but the agreement lacked clarity in that it did not define what sanctions if any, either party would face for violating the geographic restriction. Continue reading

Typically, people marry with the intent to stay together for the rest of their lives. Many marriages are short-lived, though, and last only a few months or years. Simply because a marriage does not endure for a long time does not mean that either spouse is immune from support obligations, however. This was demonstrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court rejected the assertion that a husband should no longer be required to pay pendente lite support for a marriage that lasted 16 months. If you wish to seek a divorce, it is smart to speak to a New York divorce lawyer to determine how your decision may impact you financially.

Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in February 2017. The couple had one child during their marriage, and the husband filed for divorce in August 2019. Resolution of the matter was delayed extensively, in part due to the husband’s failure to comply with court orders or engage in discovery and his failure to appear for hearings.

It is reported that in April 2021, the husband filed a motion asking the court to vacate a December 2020 order that required him to pay spousal maintenance, arguing that as the couple was only married for 16 months, he should not be compelled to pay pendente lite spousal maintenance 26 months after he filed for divorce. The court ultimately rejected the husband’s reasoning and denied his motion. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for one spouse to be the primary income earner while the other spouse is tasked with taking care of the home and raising the children. When couples with disparate incomes divorce, the courts will often grant temporary or permanent spousal maintenance to the party with a lesser income. Simply because a party does not agree with a court’s determination with regard to spousal support does not mean such a ruling should be overturned. This was illustrated in a recent opinion issued in a New York divorce case, in which the court explained its reasoning for denying a husband’s appeal of orders granting temporary and durational maintenance. If you intend to end your marriage, it is important to understand how the decision may impact you financially, and you should speak to a New York divorce lawyer to discuss your options.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the parties married in 1994 and had three children. In 2018, the wife filed a divorce action, after which the husband left the marital home. The two children who were minors remained in the wife’s care. The wife then moved for numerous types of temporary relief, which resulted in the court issuing an order in which it directed the husband to pay temporary spousal maintenance and child support.

Reportedly, following a motion filed by the husband, the court issued a second order that altered the terms of the first and directed the husband to pay half of the costs of carrying the marital home. The parties entered into an agreement on certain issues, and the case proceeded to trial to resolve the remaining disputes. The court issued a judgment of divorce and granted the wife spousal maintenance for a period of nine years. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Pursuant to New York law, parties in custody actions may enter into stipulations setting forth terms defining custody and child support rights, and the courts will generally affirm such agreements if they are in the best interest of the children in question. Essentially, the court-approved agreements in custody actions are contracts and will be interpreted and enforced as such. That does not mean that the terms of such agreement cannot be modified by the court, however, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling issued in a custody matter. If you are engaged in a custody dispute, it is advisable to consult a skilled New York family law attorney to discuss your rights.

The Background of the Case

It is reported that the parties married in 2002 and had two children together. The wife filed an action for divorce in New York in 2012. The husband insisted that any divorce take place in France, however, where the parties previously lived, and in April 2013, the District Court of Paris entered a judgment of divorce stating the parties were to exercise joint parental authority and deemed the wife’s home as the children’s usual residence. The judgment also granted the father parental access and ordered him to pay child support.

It is alleged that in March 2016, the parties entered into a stipulation regarding custody that stated, in part, that they had joint legal custody of the children. The stipulation also granted the mother primary residential custody and the father parental access. Further, it provided that the parties were to work with a parent coordinator and that, barring an emergency, neither party should return to court without first consulting the coordinator. In June 2018, the wife filed a motion to modify the stipulation and certain aspects of the divorce judgment. The court then issued an order directing a hearing to aid in the disposition of the motion, noting that while the parties were required to use a parent coordinator, such use was of no help. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Many divorces are contentious and require protracted litigation to resolve issues such as property division and alimony. In some instances, though, a couple’s decision to part ways is amicable, and they are able to end their marriage expeditiously via an uncontested divorce. While there are benefits to obtaining an uncontested divorce, it is critical for people seeking to dissolve their marriages in such a manner to understand the implications of their decision. For example, as explained in a recent New York ruling, a party that asks the court to vacate an order issued in an uncontested divorce likely faces an uphill battle. If you are thinking about a divorce, it is in your best interest to consult with a trusted New York divorce and family law attorney to discuss your options.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in 2000. The wife commenced a divorce action in 2017, and the parties subsequently negotiated the distribution of their property and entered into a separation agreement. The agreement provided, among other things, that the wife’s pension and the husband’s retirement account were the separate property of each party. The matter then proceeded as an uncontested divorce, and the court entered a judgment of divorce upon the husband’s default.

Allegedly, the court incorporated but did not merge, the separation agreement into the judgment of divorce. The husband then moved to vacate the judgment and the portions of the separation agreement dealing with the pension and retirement accounts. The court denied his motion, and he appealed. Continue reading

Many people make the practical decision to enter into marital agreements before or after marrying in an effort to protect their assets. While such agreements are designed to avoid protracted litigation regarding the division of property, in some instances, the agreements themselves become the topic of dispute. For example, parties may argue that marital agreements should be disregarded because they are unconscionable or arose out of fraud. As demonstrated in a recent New York opinion, though, a party seeking to set aside a postnuptial agreement faces a high burden of proof. If you need assistance drafting or defending a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is in your interest to speak to a seasoned New York family law attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the husband and the wife married in 2005 when they were both in their fifties. At the time, the plaintiff owned her own business, and the husband was a successful attorney. Thus, they entered into a prenuptial agreement prior to marrying that defined any income earned during the marriage as marital. After they were married, they entered into a postnuptial agreement that changed the definition of income earned during the marriage to separate property.

Reportedly, in 2016 the wife instituted divorce proceedings. The husband then moved to set aside the postnuptial agreement on the grounds of fraud, unconscionability, overreaching, and lack of consideration. The court denied the husband’s motion, and he appealed. Continue reading

Raising a child is expensive, and few people can afford the cost alone. Thus, in many instances in which parents share child custody, the courts will order one parent to pay child support to the other. Numerous elements are taken into consideration in determining an appropriate monthly support obligation. Recently, a New York court explained how the time each parent actually spends with a child factors into child support decisions in a case in which the father appealed the trial court’s ruling. If you are involved in a dispute over child support, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable New York family law lawyer about your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father, who had three children, divorced. The father was granted legal custody of the children, and the mother was granted residential custody. The parties entered into a stipulation granting the father parental access with the oldest child at least every other weekend. Regarding the younger two children, he had access Fridays afternoon until after their recreational activities, every other weekend, and every Monday evening until Wednesday morning. The stipulation regarding custody contained a clause, however, that stated that, given the children’s ages, if they did not wish to spend the full amount of time dictated by the stipulation with the father, their wishes should be respected.

Allegedly, the court held a trial to determine economic issues, during which it was noted that only the middle child adhered to the parenting schedule, while the other two children spent no time with the father. The court determined that the mother was entitled to child support, and using the Child Support Standards Act, found that the father was responsible for about 37% of the basic support obligation, subject to a downward deviation. Thus, it ordered the defendant to pay $175 per week in support plus the cost of the children’s extracurricular activities and 37% of the cost of health care. The defendant appealed. Continue reading

Many married couples have children, and if they eventually decide to divorce, the dissolution of their relationship will undoubtedly impact their children in some ways. While parents typically want what is best for their children and act accordingly, in some cases, the court will find it necessary to appoint an attorney to advocate for the interests of a child. An attorney for children’s role is limited to matters that directly impact the young parties they represent, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling. If you have children and intend to seek a divorce, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable New York family law attorney to determine your rights.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married in July 2003, after which they had three children. Prior to getting married, they entered into a prenuptial agreement which stated that neither party would be entitled to equitable distribution, maintenance, or attorney’s fees in the event of a divorce. The couple ultimately decided to part ways and filed for divorce. The wife then filed a motion asking, in part, that the court set aside the prenuptial agreement. The court issued an order denying the wife’s motion. The attorney for the children then moved to vacate the order pertaining to the prenuptial agreement on the grounds that he should have been permitted to participate in a hearing on the matter to protect the interests of the children. The court denied his motion, and he appealed.

Children’s Rights in Divorce Actions

On appeal, the court held that contrary to the assertion of the attorney for the children, he did not have the standing to file a motion to vacate the trial court’s order. The court explained that while children have some rights with respect to matters such as custody, visitation, and child support in matrimonial actions, they do not have a general right to participate in the litigation of financial matters relating to maintenance or equitable distribution in their parents’ divorces. Continue reading

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

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