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In this divorce action, Strauss v. Strauss, the husband had obtained access to wife’s iPad and private text messages. He falsely told her that he did not have the iPad and that it was lost. The husband did provide the text messages to his counsel. However, it was not until two years after the fact that it was disclosed that the husband was in possession of the iPad and text messages They announced that…
It took nine years to affirm a five-year maintenance award. In an April 24, 2019 decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department, the Court in Rogowski v. Rogowski affirmed a March, 2010 divorce judgment under which the wife was awarded maintenance for five years of $2500 per month plus 60% of the husband’s annual employment bonus in excess of $14,200. The action for divorce had been commenced in 2008. The Court held that held that…
The separation agreement was the product of mediation; the wife was afforded the opportunity to consult with counsel; and the wife elected to sign the agreement, notwithstanding the advice of counsel not to do so.  “These facts, standing alone, do not shield the separation agreement from judicial scrutiny. The validity of the agreement is dependent upon an examination of the totality of the circumstances, including an examination of the terms of the agreement, to see if…
If you delay going to court after an event that changes rights and obligations, you do so at your peril. In Fortgang v. Fortgang, the parties were divorced in May 2011. Under their stipulation of settlement, the parties agreed that the husband would pay $2,600 per month in basic child support for the parties’ two children. The stipulation provided that this child support obligation would decrease when the parties’ older child became emancipated, but…
Leaving parenting-time decisions to the future agreement of the parents is not a great idea, particularly with quarreling parents. So held the Appellate Division, Second Department, in its February, 2019 decision in Cabano v. Petrella. In that case, the parents had entered into a December, 2013 so-ordered stipulation which, among other things, reaffirmed their joint legal custody, reaffirmed the mother’s residential custody, and set forth a detailed parental access schedule. That arrangement remained substantively…
What happens when, under a post-divorce QDRO, retirement benefits are paid to the “wrong” beneficiary? The Appellate Division, Second Department, in its March 6, 2019 decision in Schatz v. Feliciano-Schatz held that the proceeds may be reached by the correct beneficiary In 1998, Susan (W1) and Aloysius (H) were divorced. In February 2004, H married Carmen (W2). In December 2006, H retired from his employment and began receiving benefits from his New York Stock Exchange…
In a February, 2019 decision, the Appellate Division, Second Department, foiled the cooperative efforts of previously-divorced parties, by their settlement of post-judgment issues, to avoid an interim fee award to the ex-wife’s counsel to prosecute an appeal. In Rhodes v. Rhodes, the parties were married in 1993, had three children, and divorced in 2008. In 2013, the ex-husband successfully moved to modify the parties’ custody arrangement and, in a December, 2014 order, was granted…
A January 9, 2019 decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department, may foreshadow an increase in support enforcement proceedings in Family Court, or promote the current payment of child support obligations, or both. In Mensch v. Mensch, the court reversed an order of Suffolk County Family Court Judge Kathy G. Bergmann that denied a mother’s objections to the denial of a counsel fee award by Support Magistrate Barbara Lynaugh. The parties were the…
Using the state’s Child Support Enforcement Services can have unintended results. Having support payments made through a Support Collection Unit triggers a cost-of-living adjustment procedure that may result in a significant change to the court-ordered support obligations to which parties had agreed. Consider the September 26, 2018 decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Murray v. Murray. There, the former spouses in their 2001 surviving divorce settlement agreement had agreed to share joint…