Articles Posted in Family Court

It is common for courts to issue orders that impose financial obligations on parties in New York family law cases. Such orders are legally binding and enforceable by the courts. For example, if a party fails to comply with the terms of an order, they may be held in contempt. Recently, a New York court discussed what a party seeking to hold someone in contempt for failing to comply with a family court order must prove in a case in which a former wife moved to hold her former husband in contempt for failing to pay counsel fees and arrears. If you have questions regarding the enforcement of orders in New York family law actions, it is in your best interest to consult a New York family law attorney as soon as possible.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the former husband and former wife were divorced by judgment in September 2013. Among other things, the judgment directed the former husband to pay the former wife over $420,000 in arrears for carrying on the marital home and counsel fees in the amount of $30,000. The judgment was later modified to reduce the arrears owed by the former husband to slightly over $200,000; the award of counsel fees in the amount of $30,000 was affirmed. A second judgment for additional counsel fees was entered against the husband in April 2017.

Allegedly, in May 2018, the former wife moved to hold the former husband in civil contempt for failing to pay the arrears or counsel fees. The court granted the motion. The former husband then moved to vacate and set aside the contempt order. The court denied his motion, and he appealed. Continue reading

While there are many factors that affect the outcome of a motion or hearing in a family law case, typically a national health crisis is not one of them. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has significantly altered the course of family law cases in New York City and throughout the nation, however. As such, it is critical for anyone with a family law matter pending in New York City to understand how their case may be affected. If you live in New York and have concerns regarding a family law issue, it is prudent to speak with a New York family law attorney to discuss how recent events may affect your case.

Recent Administrative Orders Relating to New York City Family Courts

On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order declaring the entire State of New York in a State disaster emergency due to the fact that many people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, and it is anticipated that the numbers will increase. Pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s authority, he temporarily stayed all deadlines in all cases, including family law cases. In other words, the time limitations for when an action, motion, or other proceeding or process must be commenced, filed, or served is tolled from the date of the order until April 19, 2020. As such, no adverse action can be taken against a party in a family law matter, or any other matter, for failing to file a pleading or response during that time.

This does not mean the courts are closed, however. Instead, pursuant to a press release from the Chief Administrative Judge for the New York State Court System, on March 26, 2020, the New York City Family Court began hearing certain matters by telephone or vide appearance, in an effort to contain and mitigate the spread of Covid-19, while still allowing the court to provide necessary emergency relief to the families and children the family court serves. Specifically, hearings regarding child protective intake cases that involve removal applications, emergency family offense petitions, newly filed cases for juvenile delinquency that involve remand applications, and writ applications regarding parenting time or custody, where there is an order in place, may be heard via remote methods.

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The New York State court system has announced that beginning on Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, March 26, it will provide critical emergency relief to the children and families.

Such a decision was reached to reduce courtroom density and stem the spread of the Coronavirus.

The New York City Family Court will hear by remote video appearances and/or by telephone the following matters:

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