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

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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