Articles Posted in Divorce

It is not uncommon for married couples to separate while contemplating whether they want to legally end their marriage. In such instances, they will often enter into a separation agreement indicating their rights and duties during their time apart. Such agreements are essentially contracts and are enforceable as such. There are exceptions, however, like agreements that are the result of overreaching or duress that will cause a court to deem them unenforceable, as demonstrated in a recent New York case. If you are determining whether you should end your marriage, it is smart to talk to a New York divorce lawyer to determine what steps you can take to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Setting

It is reported that the husband initiated a divorce action asserting that the parties had been living separately under a property settlement and separation agreement filed nearly two years prior, as per Domestic Relations Law § 170 (6). The husband sought summary judgment to enforce the separation agreement, while the wife countered with a cross-motion, alleging that certain provisions of the separation agreement were unconscionable and the result of fraud, duress, coercion, and lack of financial disclosure by the husband.

In many divorce actions, the main point of contention is the division of assets. While parties may not want to divide marital property during a divorce, behavior designed to hide such property will likely be uncovered by the courts, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a divorce case. If you want to end your marriage and want to learn more about how it can impact you financially, it is in your best interest to speak with a New York divorce lawyer about what measures you can take to protect your interests.

Case Setting

It is reported that the wife instituted a divorce action. The court noted that the husband engaged in deliberate actions to obscure and hide marital assets. Specifically, the husband violated court orders restraining him from transferring assets or accessing safety deposit boxes. Moreover, the husband undertook transfers of ownership of his various businesses to his brother and a long-term employee, both before and after the wife initiated the divorce. He also engaged in transactions aimed at creating the appearance of having no assets, even going so far as to portray himself as earning a nominal income of only around $12,500 per year.

It is alleged that the trial court subsequently issued three judgments. The first one distributed marital property, including maintenance and child support, to the wife. The second judgment addressed attorneys’ fees, particularly for the wife’s attorneys, and the third judgment finalized the monetary aspects of the case. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Ending a marriage often has emotional ramifications, but some people are able to set aside their feelings and negotiate and enter into settlement agreements that set forth their rights and obligations instead of engaging in litigation. Simply because parties enter into such agreements does not always mean that they will abide by their terms, though. In cases in which a person fails to comply with a stipulation of settlement, the party impacted can seek relief from the courts, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling. If you consider a divorce, it is smart to meet with a New York divorce lawyer as soon as possible to determine your options.

Factual Setting and Procedural History

It is reported that the husband and wife were married and had two children together. The husband filed a divorce action in 2010. The parties subsequently entered into an oral stipulation of settlement in February 2011. The stipulation granted the defendant sole custody of the children and outlined the sale of the marital residence, a cooperative apartment in Yonkers.

Allegedly, the husband, who was responsible for the maintenance fees associated with the marital residence, had his child support obligations stayed until the apartment was sold. The divorce was finalized in August 2011, with the stipulation incorporated but not merged into the judgment. In December 2012, the wife moved to transfer the title of the marital residence, citing the husband’s refusal to sell, non-payment of maintenance fees, and impending eviction. The trial court granted the wife’s motion, and the husband appealed. Continue reading

One of the most contentious issues in most divorces is how assets should be divided. In some cases, though, parties are able to come to an agreement independently. Separation and settlement agreements will typically be enforced by the New York courts, but they can be set aside if they are deemed unconscionable or were not entered into willingly. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion in which the court deemed a settlement agreement a wife signed without legal representation void. If you are interested in seeking a divorce, it is smart to meet with a New York divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case and Procedural History

It is reported that the husband and wife married in 2007 and had three children. The husband, upon discovering the wife’s extramarital affair, clandestinely consulted an attorney in March 2020 to draft the agreement. In April 2020, the husband orchestrated a meeting at the marital home, during which he presented the agreement to the wife and recorded the interaction on a laptop. The husband presented two options to the wife: signing the agreement that day or facing a contentious divorce.

Allegedly, the husband informed her that, upon signing, she had to leave the marital home due to financial constraints. Despite minimal time spent reviewing the agreement and the husband’s suggestion of seeking legal advice, the wife signed the agreement, and a notary public, arranged by the husband, notarized it. The wife subsequently initiated legal proceedings to set aside the agreement. The trial court ruled that the agreement was void and unenforceable, after which the husband appealed. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for a divorcing couple to enter into a settlement agreement establishing their rights and obligations. If they have children, such agreements may include provisions regarding child support. While any agreement pertaining to children must be in the children’s best interests, if the courts incorporate a stipulation of settlement into a divorce judgment, they will typically be enforced as written. When determining whether a stipulation of settlement is enforceable, the courts will assess, in part, whether the language is clear and unambiguous, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a New York case in which the parties disputed whether child support for add-on expenses was warranted. If you want to learn more about your rights with regard to child support, it is wise to meet with a New York child support lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married and subsequently divorced through a judgment entered in June 2015. The judgment incorporated a stipulation of settlement but did not merge the stipulation into the settlement. The wife later moved for child support add-on expenses in excess of $30,000, as well as attorneys’ fees. At the same time, the husband moved to end his child support obligation for the couple’s older child. He also sought to compel the wife to provide proof of child support add-on expenses going forward and to hold the wife in contempt for failing to comply with the stipulation of settlement. The trial court granted the wife’s motion and denied the husband’s, after which the husband appealed.

Interpretation of Stipulations Regarding Child Support

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling with regard to the child support for add-on expenses.  In doing so, the court emphasized that a stipulation of settlement, when incorporated but not merged into a divorce judgment, is a contract subject to contract construction and interpretation principles. Continue reading

Many New Yorkers who are unsure about the status of their marriage separate before ultimately making the decision to divorce. In such instances, it is not uncommon for them to enter into a separation agreement that defines their rights and obligations. Many separation agreements are eventually incorporated into divorce decrees as well. As discussed in a recent New York ruling, it is important for anyone considering entering into a separation agreement to understand that it is a legally binding document that, in most instances, will be enforced by the courts. If you want to learn more about your options with regard to ending your marriage, you should speak to a New York divorce lawyer promptly.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the parties divorced; the trial court incorporated by reference the parties’ separation agreement into their final judgment of divorce.  The wife subsequently filed a motion seeking a money judgment for unpaid maintenance arrears totaling $70,857. The husband filed a cross-motion to reform or vacate certain provisions of the separation agreement. The court denied both motions but granted the wife’s request for counsel fees. Both parties appealed.

Enforceability of Separation Agreements

On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision regarding the enforceability of the maintenance provisions in the separation agreement. The court found that Domestic Relations Law § 236B(3) governed the case since the parties sought resolution through agreement rather than judicial intervention. The separation agreement, which was in writing, subscribed by the parties, and acknowledged appropriately, was deemed valid and enforceable. The court rejected the husband’s argument that a different section of the Domestic Relations Law applied due to his lack of legal representation during the proceedings, as the parties had a valid separation agreement. Continue reading

Generally, a judgment of divorce issued by a New York court dissolves a marriage and determines the rights and obligations of the formally married couple. In some instances, though, justice requires that such judgments be set aside. For example, as explained in a recent New York ruling issued in a divorce action, if a default judgment issued in dissolution proceedings is the product of fraud or deceit, there may be grounds for vacating it. If you have questions about how you can protect your rights in dissolution proceedings, it is smart to confer with a New York divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Case History

It is reported that the parties married in 2008 in Queens County, New York. They had one child during their marriage. In 2022, the husband initiated a divorce action in Kings County despite the fact that neither party resided there. The trial court granted a default judgment of divorce in March 2022, citing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for over six months with resolved ancillary issues. In February 2023, the wife (filed an order to show cause seeking to restore the case to the court’s calendar, alleging that the divorce was based on false information and perjury by the husband.

Grounds for Setting Aside a Default Divorce Judgment

The court conducted an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the divorce judgment should be set aside and whether sanctions should be imposed on the husband. Further, the court explained that CPLR 5015(a)(3) allows a party to be relieved from a judgment due to fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct. Continue reading

In New York, judgments of divorce will typically not only legally end a couple’s marriage but will also establish their rights and obligations with regard to child support, spousal maintenance,  and property division. As such, if a party fails to comply with the terms of a divorce judgment, they can be held in contempt. Recently, a New York court discussed the burden of proof for a party asking the court to hold their former spouse in civil contempt in a divorce case. If you have questions about the legal process of ending your marriage, it is in your best interest to talk to a New York divorce lawyer at your earliest convenience.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the parties in this case were married in 1993 and had four children. They got divorced, and a judgment of divorce was entered in October 2016. The divorce judgment was based on a decision that resulted from a trial held in February 2015. This decision from the trial was incorporated by reference into the final divorce judgment.

Most divorces in New York are resolved through a settlement agreement.  Written Settlement Agreements set forth the terms of the parties’ division of property and support obligations. Generally, the courts will incorporate such settlement agreements into the final divorce decree and enforce them as they would other contracts. This means, as discussed in a recent New York ruling, that any modifications of such agreements must be in writing. If you intend to seek a divorce, it is smart to meet with a New York divorce attorney to assess your options.

Case Background

It is reported that the parties were married in 1998 and divorced in 2013, with a judgment that incorporated a separation agreement. The judgment stipulated maintenance payments of $400 per month while the wife resided in the marital residence or until its sale, and $900 per month afterward. The separation agreement allowed both parties to continue living in the marital residence and listed it for sale in 2013. The agreement specified that it could only be modified in writing with formal signatures. The husband moved out in March 2013, no maintenance was paid, and the residence was not sold.

Allegedly, in 2019, the wife moved to hold the husband in contempt and sought maintenance arrears, sale of the residence, return of personal property, and counsel fees. The husband presented a written modification agreement dated February 2013 stating that maintenance would end when the wife resided with another person. The husband argued this agreement modified the maintenance terms to allow postponement until their child’s graduation. The trial found the modification valid and enforceable, awarding counsel fees to the husband, and denied the wife’s claims. The wife appealed. Continue reading

In New York divorce actions, the lesser-earning party will often seek spousal or child support from their spouse. The courts typically rely on income-based guidelines when evaluating such requests. In cases in which the higher-earning spouse’s income exceeds the income cap, the courts have the discretion to include income above the cap when making their decision. In doing so, however, they must consider certain factors, as discussed in a recent New York ruling. If you are interested in learning more about the economic consequences of ending your marriage, you should speak with a New York divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural and Factual History

It is reported that in February 2018, the husband initiated an action for divorce. In August 2018, the court issued a temporary order that mandated the husband to cover all marriage-related expenses except for cell phone bills for the wife and their three children. The order also obliged him to pay $300 weekly as “unallocated support.” Subsequently, a parenting agreement was established in May 2019, leading to a financial hearing that month. Although the parties initially agreed on financial matters in July 2019, the wife never ratified this stipulation; as such, the financial hearing resumed in May 2021.

It is alleged that during this hearing, the parties settled on numerous issues, including maintenance and child support. The referee issued a memorandum decision post-hearing, which the court partially adopted and modified, culminating in the final judgment. The parties both appealed, asking the court to modify the awards for child support and maintenance. Continue reading

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