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Post Trial Applications need to go to the Appellate Division

Post Trial Applications In a case before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein, who sits in the divorce Supreme Court part in Nassau County, a husband brought an application to set aside a provision in a 2017 court decision after trial awarding a wife a $226,042.00 money judgment for support arrears. He also sought to modify the court’s decision crediting him for $200,907.68 in support payments. The court allegedly failed to give him the appropriate credit among other things.

The Wife’s Position

The wife opposed the husband’s application. She brought a cross-application to allow her to trade cash assets awarded her in exchange for the husband’s equity in the marital residence. She claimed it was essential for the parties’ special needs son to remain in the marital residence, to stay in the same school district, keep his friends and maintain the same routine.

The Trial Judge had Retired

Justice Goodstein, in a matter of first impression, ruled that under the circumstances presented in this case the prospective of a trial judge, now retired, was essential to the appropriate evaluation of the parties’ motions. Since the trial judge was retired, Justice Goodstein found he had no authority to rule on these post trial motions. The decision regarding all financial issues was resolved by the decision after trial. Therefore, under both statutory law and case law any change or challenge to the trial court’s decision would have to be made to the Appellate Division, an Appeals Court. Only the Appellate Division could determine if the modification of the trial court’s decision was appropriate. He therefore denied both parties’ applications.

Conclusion

In this case there were issues that should have been dealt with before the original trial judge. Parties in divorce cases should always resolve all issues when they settle or take a case to trial.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel has been representing parties in divorce and family court cases in the courts throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.