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Parties Dispute Grounds for Divorce


This is a divorce proceeding being held in front of the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Westchester County. The defendant in the matter is Thomas Hannigan and the plaintiff in the case is Barbara Hannigan.

Case Background

A New York Family Lawyer said the plaintiff and the defendant are respectively 44 and 43 years old and have three children together. The children are 18, 13, and 11 years old. The couple was married on the fifteenth of June, 1985. The plaintiffs have begun this matrimonial action on the 20th of June, 2005. The main issue in this dispute is how the marital property of the couple is going to be distributed. The marital property includes a substantial amount of real property that they own as tenants by the entirety, the money that is located in a bank account that is only in the name of the plaintiff, and the value of the business owned by the defendant and the value of the plaintiff’s nursing degree and nursing license.

The grounds for the divorce according to the plaintiff as stated in the preliminary hearing that was held on the 27th of October, 2005 was her precarious health condition. The grounds for the divorce are still being disputed at this time. The court allowed both parties to serve and file letter submissions on the question of whether bifurcation should be granted in this case. The court has determined that if the plaintiff will consent to certain conditions of a divorce judgment, bifurcation is warranted in the matter.

Positions of the Parties

The defendant argues that the court may not bifurcate this matter on the ground and financial issues and grant a divorce trial in favor of the plaintiff unless all of the financial matters that are in dispute are addressed. A New York Custody Lawyer said the defendant argues that he will be prejudiced in an interlocutory divorce judgment because the judgment will impact his equitable distribution rights adversely. He further argues that if the interlocutory divorce judgment is granted the current tenancies of their real property will be converted to tenancies in common and allow the plaintiff to have separate property that she may leave to her heirs.

The plaintiff argues that the court may bifurcate the issues because it has the right to enter a judgment of divorce in any type of matrimonial action. A Bronx Custody Lawyer said she further argues that the court could hold the trial and hold the entry of a divorce judgment in abeyance so that none of the effects stated by the defendant will result until a final divorce judgment is issued.

Court Discussion and Decision

The issue for the grounds of this divorce is severed in this matter based on the economic issues that are involved in this case. The court has determined after reviewing all of the facts in this case that a trial for grounds is necessary in this matter. A Bronx Family Lawyer said after the trial is held the plaintiff must agree to the terms as they are set by the judgment in order for the order of divorce to be granted. The application for bifurcation made by the plaintiff and the expedited trial for a divorce is denied.

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