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Husband Appeals Divorce Judgment

A New York Family Lawyer said this is an action for a divorce and ancillary relief wherein the husband appeals, as limited by his brief, from so much of a judgment of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, entered 21 December 2005, as, upon a decision of the same court dated 16 August 2005, made after a nonjury trial, awarded the wife a divorce on the ground of cruel and inhuman treatment, directed him to pay child support in the sum of $2,107 per month, directed him to pay child support arrears in the sum of $61,420, distributed 60% of the equity in the marital residence to the wife and 40% of the equity to him, and directed him to pay the sum of $39,732 to the wife’s counsel.

A New York Custody Lawyer said the court orders modification, on the law, of the judgment by deleting subparagraph (h) of the fifth decretal paragraph thereof directing the husband to pay child support arrears in the sum of $61,420, and by deleting the eighth decretal paragraph thereof directing the husband to pay child support in the sum of $2,107 per month. As modified by the court, the judgment is affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Nassau County for further proceedings.

A Brooklyn Family Lawyer said the court further ordered that the husband shall continue to pay child support in the sum of $2,107 per month until the Supreme Court, Kings County makes a new determination of child support and child support arrears.

Based on Domestic Relations Law § 170 [1] and contrary to the husband’s contention, the wife was able to present ample evidence that he engaged in a course of conduct, including verbal and physical abuse, which was harmful to her well-being and made cohabitation unsafe.

A Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyer said that although the husband denied the allegations of abuse, his denials merely created a question of credibility, which the Supreme Court emphatically resolved against him. The trial court has broad discretion to determine the issue of cruel and inhuman treatment. It was held in Dunne v Dunne, Rispoli v Rispoli and Davis v Davis that the issue of cruel and inhuman treatment determination will not be lightly overturned on appeal. Accordingly, the court declines to do so here.

However, the court finds that the Supreme Court improperly calculated the husband’s monthly income when it based its calculations, in part, on the rental income the husband received from subletting his studio space, without deducting from that rental income the amount the husband paid to his landlord in base rent for the studio space based on Haas v Haas and Bottitta v Bottitta. Thus, the court remits the matter to the Supreme Court for a new determination as to the husband’s monthly income, as well as the appropriate child support and concomitant child support arrears based on such income based on Coull v Rottman.

Based on Cohen v Cohen, Linda R.H. v Richard E.H, Ryan v Ryan and Krantz v Krantz, the court also finds that the Supreme Court erred in directing the husband to pay child support in the sum of $2,107 per month, which sum included the provision of a shelter allowance, while also directing him to reimburse his wife for 40% of the carrying charges for the marital residence. Such an award resulted in the payment of a double shelter. In order to arrive at a just and appropriate award, the Supreme Court should have subtracted the fixed carrying charges attributable to the marital residence, i.e., the mortgage payments and real estate taxes, from the parties’ gross income before applying the statutory percentages as was done in the analagous case of Linda R.H. v Richard E.H. Once the appropriate amount of child support is determined, the amount of child support arrears should be adjusted accordingly.

In addition, the Supreme Court should amend the judgment to reflect that the husband’s obligation for payment of child support will end upon the emancipation of each of the couple’s two sons.

Also, based on the cases of Bengard v Bengard, Krigsman v Krigsman and Saasto v Saasto, the court finds that the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion by deducting the sum of $39,732 for the wife’s counsel fees from the husband’s distributive award of 40% of the equity in the marital residence because the husband’s obstructionist tactics unnecessarily prolonged the litigation.

The court finds that the husband’s remaining contentions are without merit.

Nassau County Family Attorneys, Nassau County Child Support Attorneys and Stephen Bilkis & Associates are your choice in the kind of litigation narrated above. If you find yourself similarly faced with this kind of legal issues, please feel free to call us or give us a visit. We are open to listen to your cause and give our expert advice.

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