Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law



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 .

Money falling, with an attorney standing in the backgroundThe 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. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.