SUBSTANTIAL ATTORNEY FEE AWARD TO WIFE DESPITE FINDING OF PROLONGING LITIGATION AND ENGAGING IN MERITLESS MOTION PRACTICE
DIVORCE LAWYER Long Island NY
H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 34 years of experience suggests that it would be unwise to presume that a Court would decline to award counsel fees in a divorce case where a party engages in dilatory conduct and engages in meritless motion practice which escalates the parties attorney’s fees.
In a recent case decided by the Appellate Division First Judicial Department, the Court was presented with a situation where the Wife had hired multiple attorneys which resulted in prolonging the litigation. It also found that the wife through her attorneys engaged in meritless motion practice that caused a precipitous rise in the party’s attorney’s fees. Nevertheless, the Wife was awarded $300,000.00 in counsel fees by the Appellate Court.
This case appears to be the standard bearer for the proposition that a counsel fee application by a party should always be rigorously defended, despite apparent misconduct in the case by the applicant. That is not to say that the Husband’s attorneys in the above case did not do their best to defend the claim at trial. It appears that they defended the application with vigor. However, even with proof that the case was prolonged by the Wife’s repeated turnover of her counsel (with the consequence being that each new lawyer has to become familiar with a complicated file), the Court awarded her $300,000 in attorney’s fees. Even more astonishing is that the Court found that the Wife engaged in meritless motion practice which drove up the party’s litigation costs and nevertheless still awarded her that substantial sum.
I have been litigating divorce cases for more than three decades. 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 matrimonial 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, custody, support, visitation, paternity or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.
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Written by: H. Michael Stern, Divorce Lawyer Long Island NY