Divorce Law Summaries New York

By: David M. Siegel

The following items have been handed down by the marital and family law judges. The details of the cases have been summarized for easier statements of the rulings:

Res Judicata

The original decree awarding child support payments are res judicata so long as there is no change in the circumstances underlying the decree.

Retroactivity

A circuit court is not statutorily barred from imposing a retroactive child support obligation upon a respondent in an ongoing child support proceeding who, contrary to the court's directive, has failed to inform the court of his having resumed employment. In this case no award of support was made in the original judgment, therefore, any subsequent award of support would constitute a modification of the previous judgment, thereby bringing the case within the purview of subsection (a) which prohibits the award of retroactive support, hence, the trial court properly denied plaintiff's request for retroactive child support. It was proper under former section 18 of the Divorce Act, for the trial court to direct the father of a child to reimburse the mother for moneys expended after their divorce for their child's support during his infancy even though in the original proceeding there was no order made relative to the obligation to provide child support.

Where notification of alimony and support payments was proper, the trial court did not err in refusing to make the modification order retroactive to the date o which the petition to modify was filed rather than to the date on which the defendant's monthly income was decreased.

Same Day Modifications

The trial court had discretionary power to insert an amendment in a child support agreement incorporated in the divorce decree, on the same day as the decree was issued, that deemed the support order temporary for a six-month term, even though the court inserted the amendment without prior notice to the parties and contrary to their express wishes.

Security

Where respondent had provided for the needs of his children since the separation, and there was no indication that he would not continue to do so in the future, respondent's estate would be liable for future support "to the extent just and appropriate under the circumstances" should he otherwise fail to provide for them, there was no reason to believe that respondent, or his estate, would not be able to provide the support mandated, and respondent had ample assets apart from the pension and profit-sharing plan which provided all the necessary support, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to require that respondent furnish security for his support obligations.

Social Security Benefits

Because social security dependent disability benefits are earned by the non-custodial parent, made on behalf of such parent, and, in fact, paid at least in part with contributions from the non-custodial parent's own earningsBusiness Management Articles, payment of social security dependent disability benefits satisfies a non-custodial parent's child support obligation.

Divorce and Infidelity
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