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Appeals Court Upholds Ruling That Wife Pay Husband’s Legal Fees In Divorce Case

father's rights attorneys in Metropolitan New YorkThe Appellate Division of the First Department, an appeals court, recently affirmed a lower court’s ruling in a divorce lawsuit which ordered the wife to pay $750,000 into an escrow account to cover her husband’s legal fees in their divorce lawsuit. In addition, the appellate court also upheld the lower court’s ruling fining the wife $15,000 for frivolous conduct with regard to filing a jurisdictional challenge to the authority of the courts in New York more than two and a half years after the litigation started.

Lower Court’s Decision

The lower court had found the defendant wife, Guni Murjani, had “unnecessarily delayed discovery and removed the parties’ art collection.” In addition, the court found she had “controlled the parties’ liquid assets.” As a result of these actions, the lower court found she should sell or take other action with regard to her property to fund the husband’s $750,000 legal fees. The court also found the wife should be enjoined (stopped) from taking further action with regard to a suit filed in Bombay, India, which was designed to block her husband’s divorce action in the State of New York.

Channel Islands Trust

The husband and wife were the beneficiaries a Channel Islands Trust. This trust had value of between 40 and 60 million dollars. It had been established by Mohan Murjani, a Hong Kong garment industry entrepreneur. The proceeds of this trust were the principal source of income for the family. Unfortunately, Channel Islands laws keep secret all information regarding trusts. As part of the lower court decision, Judge Drager ordered Guni Murjani to ask the Royal Courts in the Channel Islands make the files concerning the trusts available to the judge.

divorce lawyer on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer representing clients throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 30 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.