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New York Appeals Court Orders Transfer of Marital Residence in Protracted Divorce Case

Last month, the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department of New York ordered a woman to transfer her interest in a marital home to her ex-husband. The ruling came after she reportedly failed to comply with the terms of a divorce settlement. Notably, in the case — Ada O. Lainez v. Wilson Orellana — the appeals court overturned a decision by a lower court.

The Couple Was Divorced Eight Years Ago

Initially, the couple in this case was divorced back in 2011, after more than a decade of marriage. In their initial divorce settlement, they reached an agreement regarding their marital residence. Under the terms of the settlement, the husband would transfer his full share of the property to his wife and, in turn, the wife would make a proactive effort to get his name off of the property and she would assume complete responsibility for the remaining mortgage payments.

Both Parties Violated the Initial Separation Agreement

 According to court records, neither party complied with their responsibilities under the initial divorce settlement. The property interest was never transferred, the husband’s name was never taken off the home, and the husband continued making mortgage payments — totaling more than $20,000 over the course of four years.

A Stipulation of Settlement Was Agreed to in 2016 

In 2016, the now-divorced married couple reached a stipulation of settlement. As explained by Syracuse, NY divorce attorney Richard J. Bombardo, “A stipulation of settlement is essentially a divorce agreement. In some cases, divorcing couples may need to enter into a second agreement if, for some reason, their initial settlement was ineffective in resolving their issues.”

In this case, the stipulation was required because both parties allegedly failed to comply with the terms of the original divorce settlement. The new agreement required the wife to reimburse her ex-husband for the more than $20,000 he made in post-divorce mortgage payments. If she did so, she would get sole ownership of the property. However, if she defaulted, he would receive sole ownership.

Appeals Court: Default on Payments Requires Transfer of Property to Ex-Husband

 Upon reviewing the evidence, the appeals court determined that the ex-wife did indeed default on her mortgage reimbursement obligations. In addition, the court determined that the 2016 stipulation of settlement was valid and enforceable under New York state law. As such, the court ruled that it had to compel the ex-wife to transfer her interest in the marital property to her ex-husband.

To discuss your case contact Bombardo Law Office, P.C. today.


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