Articles Posted in Spousal Support

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Abatement is the act of reducing or nullifying something.  There are several different types of abatement. For example, when it comes to a testamentary gift, abatement refers to the reduction in the value of a specific bequest due to insufficient funds in the estate to fulfill all bequests proportionately.

In the context of divorce or family law, abatement upon death refers to the termination or nullification of certain legal actions or claims following the death of one of the parties involved. In Bomer v. Dean, 195 A.D.3d 1518 (N.Y. App. Div. 2021), the New York court considered the issue of the abatement of divorce actions upon the death of a party involved.

Background Facts

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In divorce cases, the primary purpose of awarding one party to pay another party maintenance is to provide the receiving party temporary financial support to give them time to become self-sufficient. During the support period, the receiving party is expected to finish school or complete other training so that they would have the skills necessary to get a job and support themselves. In Lorenz v. Lorenz, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, was asked to the amount of time and amount of money is necessary to help enable the receiving party to become self-sufficient.

Background

Defendant William Lorenz and Plaintiff Pamela Lorenz were married for 33 years. Pamela filed a petition for divorce. Both parties were 54 years of age. At the time of the divorce, Williams’s income was over $100,000, and Pamela’s income was $20,000.  William was in good health, but Pamela had back problems that affected her work as a hairdresser. The Supreme Court of New York, taking into account the couple’s standard of living prior to divorce, awarded Pamela $500 per week in maintenance from William until such time as Pamela can draw full Social Security benefits, apparently when she becomes 66. William appealed.

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2018 NY Slip Op 01076

2/14/18

This is an appeal from Westchester County Supreme Court. The order that is under appeal deals with branches of the defendant’s motion which addresses stipulations between the parties from a settlement back in 1997. According to the stipulation, the plaintiff was to receive a 50% share of a 401K as of the date of the stipulation and wasn’t due any portion of a supplemental employee retirement plan. The cross-motion to enforce this stipulation was denied, which directed the defendant to pay the 50% share of the value of the 401K and the employee retirement plan from the date of the plaintiff’s retirement.

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2017 Slip Op. 01705

Decision

This is an appeal for parts of the judgment of divorce from Nassau County Superior Court. The decision failed to award maintenance fees to the plaintiff, but did award the plaintiff’s counsel the amount of $87,000.

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The defendant was charged by an information sworn to by the complainant with a violation of Section 242, subd. 3 of the Penal Law, in other words, with a second degree assault. Upon arraignment, he was represented by counsel, namely the office of the Public Defender of the County of Nassau. His lawyer asked that the matter be transferred to the Family Court of this County to be there treated as a family offense.

In support of his application, counsel states that the complainant, and the defendant, has lived together at 36 Carney Street, Glen Cove, New York, for a period of time, that they have their shared the same apartment and that in general, they have held themselves out to be man and wife. Defendant’s counsel further informed the Court that the complainant and the defendant have never been married to each other by either a ceremonial service or a civil one, nor has a marriage license ever been issued to them.

None the less, it is asserted that the circumstances under which the complainant and defendant live with each other are such as to constitute them a household within the meaning of Section 812 of the Family Court Act. Since the institution of the Family Court Act in 1962, a number of cases have been heard in this County construing the ambit of Section 812 in situations approximately similar to the one outlined above.

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This appeal presents an opportunity for this Court to clarify the procedure for enforcing a judgment against an award of maintenance. This procedure differs from those applicable to other types of collection efforts because it harmonizes the judgment creditor’s right to reach these funds with the public policy of protecting the recipients of such funds, though they be judgment debtors.

Counsel said that, the respondent and his former wife, were divorced pursuant to a judgment entered in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County. The judgment of divorce incorporated the terms of a duly-binding separation agreement which provided, inter alia, that respondent would make monthly maintenance payments to his wife. Upon respondent’s failure to make these payments, the Supreme Court, Suffolk County, entered an income execution for support directing his employer, the respondent Prospective Computer, to deduct the maintenance payments from his income and to pay them over to the wife on a monthly basis.

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