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Husband Feels Divorce was Fraudulently Maintained


This is a matrimonial action taking place in the Appellate division of the Supreme Court of Suffolk County. The respondent in the case is Wilma Shaw and the appellant in the case is Peter Shaw. A New York Family Lawyer said the defendant is appealing a previous order made in the Supreme Court of Suffolk County that denied his motion to set aside the judgment for divorce that was entered on the 21st of July, 1980 and a stipulation settlement from February of 1981 that divided certain property of the marriage that had been owned jointly.

Case Background

The plaintiff wife and the defendant husband were married in 1966 in England. The couple has three children together who are fourteen, eight, and four years old. In 1980, the plaintiff commenced a divorce action against the husband alleging that the defendant had engaged in cruel and inhuman conduct toward her. The defendant failed to answer and a judgment of divorce was awarded to the plaintiff and entered on the 21st of July, 1980.

A New York Custody Lawyer said the divorce was based on the grounds that in June of 1975 the defendant committed physical violence against the plaintiff by hitting her on countless occasions. Before and after each incident the defendant was in an enraged temperament and used vulgar and abusive language against the plaintiff. These acts were cruel, inhuman, and endangered the plaintiff.

The plaintiff was awarded the divorce and also $200 a week for child support and $100 a week for alimony. The amount of $300 a week is to be paid to the plaintiff until the youngest child is 21 or sooner if the child becomes emancipated before this time. The judgment also awarded the marital home to the plaintiff.

In January of 1981, the plaintiff commenced an action for partition of certain marital properties that the couple jointly owned during their marriage. A Bronx Family Lawyer said the defendant, without counsel representation, entered into negotiations with the plaintiff over these properties. As a result a stipulation of settlement was reached in February of 1981. The defendant agreed to convey his half interest in the marital residence to the plaintiff and agreed to convey the shares of their rental property to the three children. It was agreed that he would no longer pay the $100 in alimony.

Case Discussion and Decision

To support his motion the defendant acknowledges the divorce action that was commenced against him by the plaintiff. However, he argues that he participated in negotiations for the property without the assistance of an attorney. He states that he indicated during the negotiations he stated that the $300 payments were difficult to make. The defendant states that the way he understood the agreement was that he would still retain ownership of the property which would help him make the $200 a week payment. He states that he agreed that his share of the property would go to his children upon his death.

The husband has requested a vacate of the divorce judgment on the grounds that he feels the divorce was fraudulently obtained by the plaintiff as she led him to believe that there was a chance they could reconcile their differences. A Bronx Custody Lawyer said the couple took a trip to Barbados together and upon their return the husband was served with papers regarding the property agreement.

The court has found that there are further issues that need to be addressed in this matter as the defendant did not have proper representation during the negotiations. It is determined that a hearing must be held in regard to this case.

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