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Case highlights New York law as pertains to shared property

A Manhattan judge has ruled that the assets of the parties are frozen when a divorce action is filed. This came about when a New York man attempted to sue his mother-in-law in an out-of-state action over certain property.

The judge cited New York's Domestic Relations Law 236(B)(2)(b) as preventing this other action from going forward. The husband had sought to seek partition of property that he co-owned with his wife and mother-in-law.

This matter was apparently already complicated by what the judge had called the husband's "poor relationship" with the parents of his wife. The judge had quashed subpoenas that the husband hoped to serve upon his wife's parents. The judge also mentioned in that ruling that it was unlikely the husband would be granted ownership of the property in question.

Though the husband only sought partition of the out-of-state property between the couple and his wife's mother (rather than partition it between himself and his wife), a temporary restraining order requested by the wife was granted in the Manhattan court because of New York law. This law presented the disposing or transferring of the property without the other party's permission (in this case the wife). The purpose of the law was to prevent actions being taken to gain possession of property right after a divorce has been filed.

As attorneys we see all manner of disputes when it comes to divorce and family law actions. Many actions revolve around specific applications of New York law. It's therefore essential that one consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney licensed in New York when it comes to these types of matters.

Source: New York Law Journal, "Judge Halts Division of Pa. Property in NY Divorce," Brendan Pierson, Feb. 25, 2014