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DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT FOLLOWING A LAYOFF DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS, COVID-19 REQUIRE CERTAIN PROCEDURES FOLLOWING THE CLOSURE OF NASSAU COUNTY FAMILY COURT

Mar 18

FAMILY LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 34 years of experience is available to assist litigants in the preparation of the documentation needed to file a downward modification of Child Support Petition in the Nassau County New York Family Court.

If you have been the victim of a permanent lay off from your job, suffered a business closure or similar situation, my office is available to assist you in filing the Order to Show Cause, petition and information sheet as well as represent you in front of the Support Magistrate when the Court’s reopen.
DOWNWARD MODIFICATION

Generally speaking, a person who suffers an involuntary layoff (of a non-temporary nature) which is not attributable to the actions of the employee, must file a petition for downward modification to obtain relief from the accrual of child support arrears in the New York. The Court has discretion to deny applications where the disruption of employment is temporary. In the event of a permanent layoff from a job, the affected employee should be maintaining detailed records of his or her search for a new job until the court hearing is completed.

A downward modification case is typically started by the filing of an information sheet and a petition for a downward modification with the Family Court Clerk’s Office at the Courthouse in Westbury, NY. The filing date is critical as any adjustment in the amount of child support will be retroactive to the filing date if the application is successful. For the time being, the procedure has been changed.

Following the interim shutdown of the New York State Courts, except for “essential matters” due to the coronavirus, on March 17, 2020, I went to the new location for the Family Court Clerk’s office and discussed the procedure for filing a downward modification in the Nassau County Family Court with the clerks at the reception desk.

I was informed that the Clerk’s office would accept new petitions, but a petition alone would not suffice. I was told that an Order to Show Cause would have to be filed with the petition, which would then be presented to the Judge presiding for signature. The Judge would then assign a date for hearing the matter. This would lock in the date for retroactive application of any order if the applicant is successful.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 34 years. I encourage you to read the client testimonials on my website. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family by phone at 516-747-2290.
My Long Island office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON FINANCIAL ABILITY TO PAY CAN BE REQUESTED TO RE-APPORTION THE FEES OF THE ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILD IN NEW YORK CHILD CUSTODY CASES

Feb 04

DIVORCE & CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, NASSAU COUNTY NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York divorce and family law attorney with over 34  years of experience suggests that a hearing on the ability to pay should be requested if  circumstances warrant and a party disagrees with the apportionment of fees directed by the Court to pay the Attorney for the Child (referred to as the “AFC”). Attorneys for the Child are routinely appointed by the Courts in New York to represent the child’s interests and to espouse the child’s position (if known) in child custody and child visitation proceedings. In Family Court cases, there are no fees for the Attorneys for the Child. Fees are directed and typically apportioned in Supreme Court divorce cases (and Writs of Habeas Corpus).life insurance

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court was presented with a situation where an Attorney for the Child was appointed to represent the children’s interests in the child custody proceedings before the Court. The Supreme Court directed that the fees of the Attorney for the Child be equally divided by the parties without considering the parties finances and presumably determining each party’s ability to pay the Attorney for the Child’s fees. As a party in the case had made a motion to the trial Court to re-apportion the Attorney for the Child’s fees, the Appellate Division determined that it was appropriate to direct a hearing to examine each party’s finances (and implicitly their respective ability to pay). The trial Court was directed to make a new determination concerning responsibility for the Attorney for the Child’s fees following the hearing.

From a practical perspective, it makes sense to examine whether circumstances warrant a re-apportionment motion. An examination of the facts should be undertaken to determine if there is a meaningful disparity of income or resources between the respective parties to the child custody dispute.

I have been litigating divorce cases throughout my career. Recent results can be found within the TESTIMONIALS page on this website. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 34 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce, child custody, child visitation or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Nassau County office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall Ring Road at 666 Old Country Road, Suite 555, in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Child Custody Lawyer


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

PROOF IS NEEDED TO COLLECT A CHILD SUPPORT ADD ON DURING A NEW YORK FAMILY COURT ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDING

Jan 22

CHILD SUPPORT LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY, NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 34 years of experience suggests that a child support recipient cannot make a claim for arrears for a child support add on, if the expense was not previously paid by the claimant. In New York, any Court ordered payment for a child that is made in addition to child support is called an “add on.”life insurance

For illustration only (as an example unrelated to the Court case discussed below), let us say that PARENT A is directed in a judgment of divorce to pay the dental expenses of the child. A bill for $500.00 is submitted to PARENT A for the cost a set of dental x-rays for the child. PARENT A ignores the bill. PARENT B commences an enforcement proceeding to collect child support arrears, including $500.00 for the x-rays. The catch is that PARENT B hasn’t paid that bill before the Family Court hearing date. Can PARENT B collect the money for the dental bill under these circumstances.

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court held that to claim an add on expense as a child support arrearage, the parent/claimant must not only pay the bill, but the parent claimant must also provide the Court with admissible evidence of the payment of the expense at the hearing to be entitled to a money judgment for that add on expense. The Court determined that while the parent/claimant in the case before the Court had testified that payments for add on expenses were made, no proof of the payments were admitted into evidence during the hearing. The other party challenged the amount of the money judgment issued by the Family Court on appeal and prevailed. The Appellate Division directed a new hearing to fix child support arrears.

Proving child support arrears involve complex issues of evidence law. Trial objections can be raised to preclude the admission of evidence, frustrating bona-fide claims for child support arrears. This can result in no recovery for the parent/claimant where funds should have been recoverable.

My suggestion is that enforcement hearings should never be undertaken by unrepresented litigants on either side of a claim for the fixing of child support arrears.

I have been litigating Family Court child support enforcement cases throughout my career. Recent child support case results can be found within the TESTIMONIALS page on this website. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall Ring Road at 666 Old Country Road, Suite 555, in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Long Island, NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

IN NEW YORK, THE COURT CAN COMPEL THE SHARING OF ONE PARTY’S STUDENT LOAN DEBT FOLLOWING THE DIVORCE

Jan 02

DIVORCE LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY, NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 34 years of experience suggests that Student Loan debt incurred during the marriage may be apportioned by the Court under certain circumstances.life insurance

A 2019 case in the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, the Appellate Court determined that when a party incurs student loan debt during the marriage, the Court can compel the other spouse to pay a portion of the outstanding student loan debt, if the marriage benefitted economically from the education received by the debtor spouse. If there is no economic benefit to the marriage resulting from the educational pursuit of the party incurring student loan debt, the law has been that the student debt becomes the sole responsibility of the party incurring the debt. This was the case even though the student debt was marital debt, incurred during the marriage. In a recent case the Appellate Division carved out an exception holding that if income to the household is derived from the degree obtained by the debtor spouse, the Court can make the other responsible for a portion of that debt. However, the apportionment of debt was not equal, with the Court making the non-debtor spouse responsible for a little more than 38% of the debt.

From my point of view, it is now important to analyze:
(1) the amount of student debt incurred during a marriage;
(2) the income earned by the debtor spouse following the attainment of the trade, degree or certification;
(3) the earning differential between pre-education earnings and post education earnings;
(4) the length of time that such income was generated and;
(5) the disposition of those earnings following receipt by the debtor spouse. This information is critical to determine a party’s position for settlement or trial.

I have been trying divorce cases since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial
when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, Long Island.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Garden City NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

A DISTRIBUTIVE AWARD CAN BE AWARDED TO RESTORE MARITAL FUNDS USED BY A PARTY TO ENHANCE THAT PARTY’S SEPARATE PROPERTY PENSION BENEFITS

Nov 11

DIVORCE LAWYER LONG ISLAND, NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 33 years of experience suggests that a distributive award may be available to compensate for the use of marital funds for the buy back of pension credits used to enhance the value of the other party’s separate property pension benefits.life insurance

In a 2019 case determined by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, the Appellate Court determined that where a party, during a marriage, uses funds earned during the marriage to buy back “pension credits” to enlarge the value of that party’s separate property pension, that a distributive award (e.g. an award of money) can be made to the other party to cover all or part of the cost of those pension credits.
This is significant because a pension earned prior to the marriage is separate property which is not subject to equitable distribution by the Court in a New York divorce case. In certain cases, there may be no practical way to determine the amount of the enhanced value that the pension credits add to the separate property pension. Pension plan administrator do not have to cooperate with the inquiry. Oftentimes, the pension plan administrator is not within the State of New York, so there is no means to compel cooperation.

Moreover, if there are insufficient funds to hire an expert to do that calculation at trial, the distributive award is an inexpensive and easy way to recover all or part of the marital funds used to pay for the pension credits.

A distributive award may be granted if a party can prove that the pension credits were purchased with marital funds during the marriage and provide the Court with the cost of the pension credits.

I have been trying divorce cases since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Nassau County office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Nassau County, New York.


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

DON’T LET THAT COURT ORDERED LIFE INSURANCE POLICY LAPSE AS IT COULD LEAD TO A WINDFALL FOR THE EX-SPOUSE BENEFICIARY!

Oct 01

DIVORCE LAWYER, NASSAU COUNTY NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York divorce and family law attorney with over 33 years of experience suggests that a party ordered to maintain life insurance should not permit the life insurance policy to lapse as the Court can impose severe financial penalties to the formerly insured party in favor of the ex-spouse beneficiary.

life insurance In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Third Judicial Department, the Court faced a situation where the trial Court had directed the husband to maintain life insurance for the wife. Prior to the divorce judgment, the policies lapsed. The husband was well into his seventies and the wife maintained that it was highly unlikely that he was insurable.

The Appellate Court modified the judgment directing the husband to pay the wife the total cost of the remaining premiums on the policy AND the cash value of the policy at the time of the lapse. This resulted in an order to pay the ex-spouse beneficiary over $126,000 within 90 days of the decision of the Court. Accordingly, every effort should be made to prevent the lapse of a life insurance policy which is the subject of a Court order as the Court has the option of resorting to a drastic financial remedy similar to the case mentioned in this blog.

While it should be noted that the insured spouse in the subject case was of advanced age, this remedy may not be available if a new substituted policy of life insurance is obtained by the party ordered to maintain the policy following the lapse. However, the issue of whether a party is uninsurable or not appears to be a critical factual issue if a request for monetary compensation is made. Moreover, the issue of the value of the life insurance to be maintained following the divorce appears to be a substantial issue for trial, if a parties medical history renders that party uninsurable or, the policy premiums are likely to become unaffordable over time.

I have been trying divorce cases for over 33 years. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over three decades.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in a free consultation to discuss your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Long Island office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. Michael Stern, Divorce Lawyer Long Island NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

IN A NEW YORK DIVORCE CASE, THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO INTERCEPTING EMAIL SENT BETWEEN YOUR SPOUSE AND THAT SPOUSE’S ATTORNEY

Sep 18

DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 33 years of experience suggests that communications between a party and his or her attorney should not be read or reviewed by the other party in a New York divorce case.

In a recent case determined by the Supreme Court, New York County, the trial Court found that the Husband had been intercepting and reviewing email between his wife and her attorney. The Court noted that the Preliminary Conference Order in the case directed the parties to preserve all electronic evidence which included email. The Court took drastic action to level the playing field regarding the interception of the wife’s privileged email communications to her lawyer. The terms of the order of the Court are thoroughly detailed and go far beyond the parameters of this blog. Among other things, the Court Ordered that: (1) the husband had to provide all intercepted email to the wife within five days; (2) after setting forth a detailed list of cloud based, app based and physical data storage locations, the husband had to provide copies all storage, regardless of the type of storage, from the date of the commencement of the action to the wife; (3) the husband had to deliver his laptop and all passwords (to access the wife’s email) to the wife’s forensic computer specialist within five days (and was prohibited from using the laptop in the meanwhile); (4) the husband had to preserve all of the wife’s email and documents concerning her email, without alteration, pending further Court order; and (5) to appear for a deposition concerning the wife’s email. The directives made by the Court affecting the husband’s former attorney, who had apparently revealed some of the wife’s privileged email to the Court during his representation of the husband, were even more astonishing. The husband’s former lawyer was similarly directed to provide copies of the wife’s emails within five days. The attorney was also directed to preserve all emails, privileged or not, and to suspend his offices’ document destruction practices until further Court order.

It is abundantly clear that the Court found the interception of the wife’s email to be disconcerting and repugnant. This case illustrates that the purposeful and intentional violation of privileged and confidential communications by a party to a New York divorce can have serious and costly consequences. In my professional opinion, such conduct should be avoided.

I have been trying divorce cases and Family Court hearings since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice for more than three decades. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Long Island office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road, Suite 555, in Garden City, New York.

Before you leave my website, I urge you take a few minutes to read the Testimonials of my former clients.

Written by, H. Michael Stern, Divorce Lawyer Nassau County NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

THWARTING TACTICS DESIGNED TO FORCE CAPITULATION IN DIVORCE CASES

Aug 14

DIVORCE LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY NY

Michael Stern, Esq., a New York divorce and family law Attorney with over 33 years of experience suggests that use of applications for civil contempt and counsel fees can be thwart refractory litigation tactics in divorce cases.

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court was presented with a situation where a party was held in contempt of Court and sentenced to 30 days in jail (subject to further extensions of time)  for failing to pay counsel fees of nearly $200,000.00 .

terms of child custody blogThe party who was owed the counsel fee (the creditor) had fallen into more than $100,000 in debt and had been facing an onslaught of pervasive, non-stop litigation from the other party (the debtor). The litigation expenses of the debtor exceeded $1,000,000.00 and were apparently were paid by a family member. The Court found that the debtor had unlimited financial resources available from that family member. Under those circumstances, the Court affirmed the decision of the trial Court as well as the prison sentence.

Many litigants seek to overwhelm the other party with a never-ending bombardment of non-stop litigation. The purpose of this tactic is to drive the other party into insolvency, forcing them to capitulate to the demands of the litigious party. In the abstract, one way to combat the dilemma of pervasive and refractory litigation, is by way of applications for counsel fees and/or contempt of court. The decision which is covered in this blog punctuates that defensive strategy. The Appellate Court did not care if the debtor was penniless, where there was a deep pocket behind the litigation.

I have been making these applications and utilizing this strategy in my practice for many years.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a  Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Nassau County, Long Island office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce Lawyer in Nassau County, Long Island NY.


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

THE TERMS OF A CHILD CUSTODY AGREEMENT WILL BE ENFORCED IF THEY ARE IN THE CHILD’S BEST INTERESTS

Jul 29

CHILD CUSTODY & FAMILY LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY

Michael Stern, Esq., a New York Divorce and Family Law Attorney with over 33 years of experience suggests that some thought must be given to the proposed terms of a Child Custody Stipulation, because the Courts will only enforce those provisions that are in the best interests of the child.

Child CustodyIn a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court was presented with a situation where a stipulation of settlement contained a mandate that the father refer to the child by his English legal name. Both parties were represented by counsel when the settlement was reached. The trial Court held a hearing on the issue and determined that the father was required to refer to the child by his English legal name. Apparently, the father conceded that he refers to the child by another name. On appeal, the Court found that this type of provision should be enforced as it was in the child’s best interests. The father was directed to refer to their child by his English legal name when addressing him, introducing the child to others, or when the father was in conversation with others with the child present.

During my long career, I have assiduously avoided drafting settlement agreements that are unenforceable. Accordingly, I give a great deal of thought to the terms of each agreement that I draft. It is better to overstate the terms of a Family Court or Divorce Settlement than to leave it up to the parties to sort it out later in contested post-judgment litigation. I strive to carefully draft agreements relating to issues of child custody, child support, the disposition of assets and apportionment of liabilities.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 31 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a  Long Island Divorce and Family Lawyer, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Long Island office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Nassau County NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

PRESSURED TO SETTLE YOUR CASE?

Jul 18

FAMILY LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY, NY

Michael Stern, Esq., a New York Family Lawyer with over 33 years of experience suggests that as an aspect of Family Court practice that an open Court record should be made if a litigant in a New York Family Court case believes that a settlement was made under duress before it is finalized.

pressured to settleIn such cases, the Family Court will usually reject the settlement where consent is not unequivocal. However, in the rare instances where it does not do so, the record may prove invaluable when filing Objections or on appeal thereafter.

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court held that it was not error for the Family Court to deny a party an adjournment in a proceeding to enforce a support Order. Apparently, in the case, the parties entered into a settlement of the enforcement proceeding and a downward modification proceeding. The Family Court entered separate Orders resolving each of the pending actions. The Father contended on appeal that he was under duress in entering into the settlement agreements. The Father appealed the denial of his Objections and the appeal was unsuccessful. The Appellate Division noted that the Father’s remedy was to move in the Family Court to vacate the orders as opposed to appealing from them. When moving to vacate an Order upon a stipulation, a critical issue is whether a defense to the making of a valid contract is asserted. In this case, the defense was duress. I suggest that it is important for a litigant to elaborate on any potential contract defense in open Court while the Stipulation is being placed on the record to ensure that the point is preserved for Objections or appeal. This is especially important if the stipulation is not truly on consent for any number of reasons.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a  Long Island Divorce and Family Lawyer, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Nassau County office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. Michael Stern, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Long Island NY.


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.