Under New York law, when a couple divorces, any marital assets are subject to equitable distribution. In other words, the courts will allocate them in a manner they deem fair, which does not necessarily mean they will be divided equally. Separate property, on the other hand, remains the property of the spouse to whom it belongs. In some instances, however, a party may be entitled to a percentage of the increase in value of their spouse’s separate property, as demonstrated in a recent New York case. If you have questions regarding how a divorce may affect your property rights, it is advisable to speak to an experienced New York divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the parties married in 2007 and had two children together, both of whom were born in 2010. The husband subsequently filed an action for divorce. The case proceeded to a bench trial, after which the judge entered a judgment of divorce and awarded the husband, among other things, 50% of the value of appreciation of the marital home. The wife appealed.

Property Rights in New York Divorces

The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order with regard to its decision to grant the husband 50% of the value of the appreciation of the marital home, which was the wife’s separate property. The court explained that under Domestic Relations Law section 236, equitable distribution of assets must be based on the unique circumstances of the case in consideration of multiple statutory factors. Continue reading

When parents share legal custody of a child, they typically must confer with one another regarding major decisions. If they are unable to come to an agreement as to which course of action to take on an issue, they may seek a resolution from the courts. If a court finds that the relationship between co-parents has deteriorated so that a joint decision is impossible, it may modify an existing custody arrangement. For example, in a recent New York ruling, a court examined whether a mother and father’s contrary viewpoints on whether their children should receive the COVID-19 vaccine warranted a change to the order defining custody. If you are concerned about your rights with regard to legal custody of your child, it is smart to meet with a trusted New York child custody lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the husband and the wife married in 2005 and had two children during their marriage. The husband commenced a divorce action in 2016, and the parties entered into a settlement agreement that was incorporated into a judgment of divorce issued in 2018. Pursuant to the agreement, they shared legal and physical custody of their children. In April 2020, the parties entered into a consent stipulation that required them to comply with all New York guidelines related to COVID-19.

When couples with children divorce, one parent will often bear the burden of paying the other child support. Child support obligations that are instituted when children are young may need to be revisited over time, as changing circumstances may render them inappropriate. Not all changes warrant modifications to support orders, though, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a New York child custody case. If you have questions about your rights and obligations with respect to child support, it is in your best interest to consult a New York child support lawyer to discuss your case.

The History of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and the father were married and had three children together. They divorced in 2017 and entered into a stipulation regarding child support. Pursuant to the stipulation, the father agreed to pay the mother $3,250 in child support each month until December 1, 2020, when his support obligation increased to $4,157. The court incorporated the stipulation into the divorce judgment.

It is alleged that in 2020, the father filed a petition asking the court to make a downward modification of his child support obligation. He argued that a substantial change in circumstances warranted the obligation; namely, his oldest child turned 21 and was emancipated. The mother moved to dismiss the petition. The trial court granted the mother’s motion, and the father appealed. Continue reading

In many marriages, one spouse earns the majority of the couple’s income. As such, if a couple with dissimilar incomes decides to seek a divorce, the court may find it appropriate to grant the lesser-earning spouse maintenance. The courts do not merely rely on the parties’ assertions when considering whether to grant maintenance, and if so, in what amount, but will consider other factors as well. Recently, a New York court discussed maintenance awards in a matter in which the husband argued that the court abused its discretion in granting the wife nondurational maintenance. If you have questions regarding the financial impact of divorce, it is smart to speak to a New York divorce lawyer to address your concerns.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in 1985 and had four children. In November 2012, the wife instituted a divorce proceeding. When the trial was underway, the parties entered into a stipulation that resolved the issues of counsel and professional fees, separate property, and equitable distribution. The court subsequently issued a decision that imputed an annual income of $800,000 to the husband and approximately $62,000 to the wife.  It also entered a judgment of divorce that incorporated the stipulation of settlement agreed upon by the husband and the wife and granted the wife nondurational maintenance in the amount of $25,000 each month for five years, then $20,000 per month for an additional five years, and then $12,000 per month until either party died or the wife remarried. Both parties appealed.

Determination of Maintenance Awards

One of the issues on appeal was whether the trial court providently exercised its discretion in granting the wife nondurational maintenance. In assessing a party’s maintenance obligation, a court does not have to rely on the party’s own report of their finances but may impute income based on established future potential earnings or past income. It may also impute income to a person based on their future earning capacity, employment history, money received from friends and family, and educational background. Continue reading

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

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