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.

Rights for Stay at Home Husbands

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He can be reached by telephone at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, or by email to

Wife Awarded Temporary Attorney’s Fees

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Elliot Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He can be reached by telephone at 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.  He can also be contacted by email to

Husband Ordered to Pay Wife’s Attorney Fees After Prolonged Litigation

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Elliot S. Schlissel, is a father’s rights attorney.  He can be reached at 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or by email to

Husband Ordered to Pay Wife’s Legal Fees

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He can be reached at 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.  He can also be reached by email to


Wife’s Request for Attorney’s Fees Reduced

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer.  He can be reached at 1-800-344-6431 or by email at

Wife’s Application in Divorce Lawsuit to Punish Husband Fails

dad's attorney on Long IslandIn the case of Steineger v. Perkins, special referee Louis Crespo sitting in a Family Court Part in New York County had a case before him in which a plaintiff wife alleged that her husband had failed to produce documents necessary for the prosecution of divorce and therefore should not be allowed to present evidence with regard to financial issues regarding the case. The wife brought an application to preclude the husband from offering any evidence or testimony of any type at the trial concerning financial issues. In addition, she brought an application for attorney’s fees and monetary sanctions against the husband. She claimed the marital estate held millions of dollars in it. She also claimed the defendant’s allegations that these funds were his separate property was untrue.

Separate Assets

The defendant husband took the position that yes he had millions of dollars in separate assets. These assets were all accumulated prior to his marriage to the plaintiff and were not subject to equitable distribution in a divorce.

Special Referee Crespo, in his decision, found the testimony of the wife, plaintiff, did not support her claim her husband had intentionally failed to produce documentation of his assets. He also didn’t find she had been prejudiced by the husband’s actions. Special Referee Crespo reached the decision the wife did not meet her burden of proof in showing her husband had purposely or willfully failed to produce documents or that he was engaging in the type of conduct which would prevent him giving testimony or introducing evidence at the time of trial. The court noted in its decision since the wife had not met her burden of proof she was not entitled to preclude the husband’s introduction of financial testimony into evidence. In addition she was not entitled to either attorney’s fees or monetary sanctions against the husband.


If you cooperate with the court and provide the appropriate information, courts won’t punish you.

father's rights advocate Elliot S. Schlissel represents fathers in custody cases and with regard to issues regarding child support. He has been referred to as the dad’s attorney.

Wife’s Request for Attorney’s Fees Substantially Reduced

dads' rights attorneyIn a divorce action before Justice Stacy Bennett in the Supreme Court Matrimonial Part in Nassau County, Justice Bennett was presented with a case involving an application for substantial attorney’s fees. The wife and the husband in this divorce case had resolved all issues concerning joint custody of the parties’ children and they had agreed to a value of the husband’s interest in his medical practice. There was a trial and husband was granted a judgment of divorce. However, there were outstanding financial issues that still needed to be resolved. One of these issues was the wife’s application for legal fees.

Wife Minimally Contributed to the Marriage

Justice Bennett in her decision discussed the wife’s contributions during the parties’ sixteen year marriage. She found that the wife had actually had very minimal contributions. Justice Bennett in her decision stated the wife didn’t clean or cook at the marital residence. The wife had the benefit of nannies who took care of the children. Justice Bennett found the wife’s direct contributions to the husband’s business were extremely limited. She found all the wife did was host an annual holiday party or a picnic. As a result of the wife’s minimal contributions to the husband’s business, she awarded the wife a 15% interest in the husband’s medical practice.

Wife’s Request for Attorney’s Fees

Wife submitted a request for attorney’s fees of approximately $573,000. Attorneys for the husband argued these attorneys fees were excessive and unreasonable. They argued the case was relatively simple and attorneys fees of this nature were completely unjustified. Justice Bennett upon reviewing the facts of the case held the amount of attorneys fees was indeed unreasonable. She awarded the wife $150,000 of attorneys fees to be paid by the husband to her attorneys.

advocate for dadsElliot Schlissel, Esq., is a father’s rights lawyer with more than 45 years of experience representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Husband Ordered to Pay Wife’s Attorneys Fees for 12 Day Trial

Josh Tope had brought a divorce action in November 2011 against his wife. He had worked as an engineering consultant earning $46,000 per year. He had previously worked as an engineer earning $90,000 per year. He gave up his job to manage real estate. He presumed this would be more lucrative. It turned out to not be lucrative at all.

The Trial

There was a trial before Judge Patrick Leis, sitting in a Supreme Court Part in Suffolk County. Judge Leis ruled Mr. Tope had “engaged in obstructionist conduct”. This conduct caused the trial to last twelve days. As a result of his obstructionist, inappropriate conduct, Judge Leis ordered he pay his wife’s attorneys fees.

Judge Leis stated in his opinion, “this case highlights the difficulties that arise when one party uses their self represented status as both a sword and a shield in an attempt to gain undue advantage and behaves in a manner that the court would never tolerate from an attorney.” Judge Leis’ position was the divorce trial should have lasted no longer than four days. Judge Leis went on to state, “simple justice dictates that the defendant who chooses to function from a position of anger and resentment not be allowed to purposely drive up the plaintiff’s counsel fees and act in such an inappropriate manner, without being made responsible for all of the trial fees.”

Trial Issues

The issues at trial solely dealt with outstanding debts such as mortgages, credit cards and legal fees. Prior to the trial moving forward, Tope requested Judge Leis recuse himself from handling the trial. Tope threatened to complain to the Commission on Judicial Conduct if Judge Leis did not step down from handling the case. Judge Leis did not step down finding Tope’s request to be frivolous.

Inappropriate Action at Trial

Judge Leis found Tope acted in an aggressive, inappropriate manner during the course of the trial. He ignored the Judge’s rulings, and he failed to follow the judge’s instructions. He shouted at the plaintiff’s attorney in an aggressive, hostile manner. Judge Leis took the position Tope took this action to punish his wife and run up her attorney’s fees.

Judge Leis ruled despite the fact Tope was not earning more than his wife at the time of the trial, he had the potential to earn $90,000 per year. The judge therefore imputed $90,000 a year as imputed income to Tope and found he was in a superior position based on his imputed income to pay for the wife’s attorney’s fees.


It is not a good idea to misbehave in a courtroom and anger the judge.

protecting dads and kidsElliot Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer representing fathers on divorces and Family Court cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Husband Delays Divorce Proceedings: Wife Awarded Temporary Attorneys’ Fees

father's rights lawyersJudge Jeffrey Sunshine sitting in a Divorce Part in the Supreme Court of Kings County recently awarded a wife temporary attorneys’ fees in a pending divorce case due to the husband delaying the case from moving forward.

The wife had received an order in a prior application directing the husband to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) and child support to wife. Husband brought a motion to reargue this temporary spousal maintenance and child support order. Wife cross moved and claimed husband was simply delaying this case from moving forward causing her unnecessary attorneys’ fees and that the husband should be forced to pay her unnecessary additional attorneys’ fees.

Wife Claimed to be the Non-Monied Spouse

The wife argued in her court papers she was the non-monied spouse. She claimed the husband had “hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrecorded income” from his business. The husband’s position was the wife was the monied spouse. He claimed she made $90,000 a year while he earned significantly less money. He presented his tax return to back these allegations.

Judge Sunshine noted the husband failed to provide information to explain why a number of accounts with significant assets in them did not appear on his net worth statement. Judge Sunshine went on to say in his decision the husband did not reveal “forgotten” accounts until his wife, after extensive discovery, was able to document the existence of these accounts and the funds in them. The judge’s decision stated that the husband was unwilling to reveal his true financial circumstances.

The failure of the husband to provide the wife with a detailed accounting of his financial circumstances cost her additional attorneys’ fees due to the extensive discovery she had been forced to undertake. As a result, the judge awarded the wife $40,000 in temporary attorneys’ fees.


divorce counsel for husbands and fathersHonesty is the best policy. If a judge finds that you are being less than honest during divorce litigation, he will punish you.