Articles Posted in Divorce

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.

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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With the ever-expanding global economy, it is not uncommon for a married couple to reside in more than one country. If an international couple decides to end their marriage, which country has jurisdiction over a divorce action often becomes a point of contention. In a recent New York case in which the parties disputed whether Thailand or New York was the proper forum to proceed with a divorce, the court discussed the standard for enjoining a party from proceeding with a divorce action in a foreign court. If you or your spouse intend to seek a divorce internationally, it is prudent to speak with a trusted New York divorce attorney regarding what measures you can take to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in Thailand in March of 2012. They signed a prenuptial agreement on the same day as their marriage. The wife was a citizen of Thailand and Canada, and an overseas citizen of India, while the husband was a citizen of the United States. The couple resided in Thailand for five years and then moved to New York. Ultimately, there was a breakdown of the marriage. The wife filed a Hague petition seeking a declaration that the couple’s son was a resident of Thailand but ultimately conceded that New York had jurisdiction over child custody and support matters. The wife then filed a divorce petition in Thailand in August 2019.

It is reported that in October 2019, the husband filed a divorce action in New York, seeking, in part, a declaration that the prenuptial agreement was unenforceable. The husband also filed a motion in February 2020, seeking an order prohibiting the wife from proceeding with the Thai divorce action.

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Chief Administrative Judge Marks released a Memorandum today announcing that, beginning Monday, May 25, “e-filing through the NYSCEF system – including the filing of new non-essential matters – will be allowed in all five NYC boroughs (certain restrictions apply) Read the entire Memorandum here.

If you contemplate filing for divorce in NYC or looking to file a custody or child support modification petition in any of the five NYC boroughs, consult with a divorce attorney at Rudyuk Law Firm, P.C.

Rudyuk Law Fim will continue to update you on new developments and information in light of COVID-19 pandemic which affects divorce litigation and family law procedures in NYC.

Last evening, New York State Unified Court System Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued an administrative order outlining additional steps the court system is taking to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“Effective immediately, the prosecution of any pending civil matters including any discovery that would require in-person appearances or travel is strongly discouraged.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE FROM MY FIRM:

As we all fight the unprecedented pandemic caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), my firm remains readily available to our divorce and family law clients and new clients. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your divorce action, co-parenting during difficult times, child support, family offense or if you need updates or require assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can email me at  ksenia@cadicny.com or Diana at assistant@cadicny.com. Also, do not hesitate to call at 212-706-2001 and reach us through Skype: Rudyuk Law Firm.

We are closely monitoring the situation and following information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, regulators and local public health departments, the New York State Governor, the New York City Mayor.

In many cases in which a couple with a child divorces, absent an agreement, the court will issue an order granting one parent primary physical custody and award the other parent parental access. Custody orders are not permanent, however, but can be modified upon a showing that a modification is necessary due to a change in circumstances. Recently, a New York appellate court once again discussed what constitutes a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a modification in a case in which a mother appealed the dismissal of a petition to modify custody. If you wish to seek a modification of an existing custody order, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced New York child custody attorney to help you seek an arrangement that is in the best interest of your child.

Facts and Procedure

It is reported that the mother and the father divorced in 2013. Initially, the mother was awarded physical custody of the couple’s sole child. Custody was then modified via a consent order in December 2015, which granted father physical custody and awarded the mother parental access. Subsequently, in April 2018, the mother filed a petition to modify the 2015 order to grant her physical custody of the child. Following a hearing, the father moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that the mother failed to establish a change of circumstances sufficient to warrant a modification. The court granted the father’s motion, dismissing the mother’s petition. The mother appealed.

Evidence of a Change in Circumstances

Under New York law, an order establishing custody or parental access will only be modified if the party seeking the modification establishes that there has been a change of circumstances that requires a modification to meet the best interests of the child. A court will review the entirety of the facts and circumstances presented in determining what is in a child’s best interests. Further, in determining whether to dismiss a petition for failure to establish a prima facie case, the court is required to accept the evidence presented by the petitioner as true and grant the petition every favorable inference that can be drawn from the evidence.

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Under New York law, property acquired during a marriage is considered marital property, which means that it belongs to both parties. Thus, if a couple divorces, the court will equitably distribute any marital property. In many cases, however, the parties will not only dispute what constitutes a fair division of any marital property but also whether an asset is, in fact, marital property or the separate property of one spouse. In a recent case decided by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York, the court explained the process of determining the value of contributions to separate property during divorce. If you and your spouse intend to divorce, it is essential to retain an experienced New York divorce attorney to help you understand how any property may be divided and what steps you can take to protect your interests.

Facts of the Case

The husband and the wife married in 1999 and had four children. In 2013, the wife filed an action for divorce, and the court entered an interim order for child support and maintenance. A trial was subsequently held, after which the court issued a judgment that, in part, awarded the wife a distribution from the appreciation of the marital home, and ordered the husband to pay the wife child support and maintenance until their youngest child reached the age of eighteen. The court also found that the wife owed the husband child support, since he had sole custody of the couple’s oldest child, but stated the payment was in abeyance until the husband paid the wife maintenance that was in arrears. The court also directed the husband to pay the wife’s counsel fees. The husband appealed on several issues.

Marital Versus Separate Property

The first issue the appellate court addressed on appeal was whether the trial court erred in awarding the wife $25,000 for the appreciation of the marital home. The court stated that it is clear under New York law, equitable distribution does not mean equal, and that a trial court has substantial leeway in determining what constitutes a fair division of assets. In the subject case, the court noted that the husband purchased the marital home prior to the marriage, and it was therefore separate property that was not subject to equitable distribution.

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