Court Modifies Judgment of Divorce

A New York Divorce Lawyer said that defendant-wife in this matter was appealing a judgment of divorce which provided for the distribution of marital assets.

The distribution provided for the plaintiff-husband to be awarded a credit of $5,038.63 for 50% of the payments he made on the mortgage on the marital residence and a credit of $28,330, which represented 50% of attorney’s fees and taxes paid with regard to a settlement in an unrelated action. The judgment went on with a determination that the mortgage on the marital residence was valid, defendant-wife was not awarded maintenance, her imputed income was in the amount of $65,000 annually, she was directed to pay plaintiff-husband $2,705.96 to equalize their retirement accounts and awarded defendant-wife 50% of the marital portion of plaintiff-husband’s pension.

A Long Island Divorce Lawyer said that in reviewing this matter, the Appellate Division believed the award of 50% of the marital property to each party constituted an equitable distribution of that property. The Court also agreed with the Supreme Court that the denial of a credit to defendant-wife for marital funds which were used to pay a premarital debt of husband. How parties choose to spend funds during the course of marriage is to be respected and court should not second-guess these economic decisions.

However, a New York Divorce Attorney said the Appellate Division did modify aspects of the judgment of divorce including the maintenance obligation, the defendant-wide’s imputed income, and a credit granted to plaintiff-husband representing 50% of the attorney’s fees paid for an unrelated legal action and tax liability incurred on settlement funds. The Appellate Division pointed out that a New York court does not need to rely on a party’s own account of his or her finances. It has discretion to take into account such factors as employment history, future earnings capacity, educational background, and what he or she is capable of earning, based upon market conditions and prevailing salaries paid to those with similar credentials working in his or her chosen field.

The Appellate Division remanded this matter to the Supreme Court to determine whether defendant-wife is entitled to maintenance. The Court is to look at several factors including the respective imputed income of both parties, the parties’ pre-divorce standard of living, and the financial resources of each, considered separately, balancing the defendant-wife’s needs with the plaintiff-husband’s ability to pay. Defendant-wife’s imputed income was decreased to $30,000 annually. Regarding the credit awarded to plaintiff-husband for 50% of the attorney’s fees paid in connection with an unrelated legal action and tax liability incurred on settlement funds, a Long Island Divorce Lawyer said the Appellate Division deleted that portion of the judgment. The Court found that a significant portion of the settlement funds were determined to be marital property and, the attorney’s fees and tax liability were marital debt.

Many factors influence the distribution of marital assets upon divorce. If you are thinking about filing for divorce you will need the representation of Long Island’s Best Divorce Lawyer to protect your interests and ensure you receive your fair share of marital property.