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Court Hears Allegations of Fraud in Divorce Proceeding


This is a case being heard in the First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division. A New York Family Lawyer said the plaintiff and appellant in the case is Edeline Augustin. The defendant and respondent in this case is Nerva Augustin. The plaintiff is appealing an order that was made in the Supreme Court located in New York County that denied her motion to vacate a judgment for divorce that was entered by the court in 1985.

Case Background

The couple was married in January of 1973 in Haiti. They have three adult children from their marriage. The husband commenced an action for divorce in a court in Haiti in 1983. The divorce was granted by the Haitian court. The validity of this decree has been questioned.

In January of 1985, the wife perpetrated a divorce action in the Supreme Court in New York County in 1985. The complaint made by the wife alleges abandonment by the husband as the parties had been living separately for over two years. A New York Custody Lawyer said the wife executed an affidavit that alleges that the husband admitted to being served with the summons and was not seeking equitable distribution of the estate and waived his right to answer and of service of any additional papers. These statements were notarized by Mr. Charles.

In an affidavit sworn on the 12th of January, 1985, the husband or an imposter admitted service of the summons with notice and stated that he was not seeking equitable distribution and waived his right to answer and be served with any additional papers in the matter.

On the first of July, 1985, a judgment of divorce was entered and custody of the children was awarded to the wife. There are no requests for maintenance or child support noted in this case.

In April of 2008, almost 23 years after the fact, the wife has begun a divorce action in the Supreme Court of Queens County. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said she has amended her verified complaint. In this verified complaint she states that her husband abandoned her in 2002 by leaving the marital residence and swearing that he would never return. She also swears that she helped support her husband through medical school. She also states that there has not been a judgment of divorce in favor of either party.

In response the husband has offered the divorce judgment from 1985 as his defense in the matter. A Nassau County Custody Lawyer said he has made a counterclaim for sanctions stating that this action is frivolous because of the judgment obtained by the wife in 1985.

Court Discussion and Decision

This particular case brings forth the issue of fraud. The wife states that she had never filed for a divorce prior to the action that she started in Queens. She further states that she did not know anything about the divorce proceedings in 1985. She states that the signatures on the paperwork are a forgery. In support of her argument the wife brings forth a DDC letter. There are several issues brought forth in this case regarding apparent fraud by either the husband or the wife. The court cannot determine who is telling the truth about the material issues of fact and for this reason a hearing will be necessary to determine the outcome of this case.

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