BLOG FROM THE LAW OFFICES OF ANDREW T. COYLE
July 20, 2021
During the pendency of a divorce, it is alluring to snoop through your spouse’s cell phone, tablet, or computer. Often people want to know if their spouse is cheating or engaging in other nefarious conduct (like gambling, drugs, or alcohol). These devices also contain communications or important documents that could be highly relevant to your dispute. But this temptation should be resisted. New York law has recognized multiple severe sanctions and penalties for surreptitious retrieval of information from a spouse’s electronic devices.
July 13, 2021
In May 2021, both the New York State Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill amending the Domestic Relations Law to address how household pets are treated in matrimonial actions. Specifically, the bill provides that a court “awarding possession of a companion animal . . . shall consider the best interest of such animal.” See S4248 (Feb. 3, 2021). The only remaining step for this provision to become law is Governor Andrew Cuomo signing the bill. For the reasons explained below, Governor Cuomo should veto the pet custody bill in its current form. In its place, the legislature should instead adopt a “best interest for all concern” standard, which is already applied under existing precedent.
June 23, 2021
Court appearances in matrimonial actions can be harrowing experiences for parties going through a divorce. Divorce proceedings are unlike other civil cases: the litigants are generally required to appear in person (or virtually during the pandemic). They are, moreover, often fraught with conflict, as the parties could not resolve their dispute without a judge intervening. It is essential that a party going through a divorce be well prepared for a Preliminary Conference.
June 22, 2021
The Automatic Orders are a set of directives that automatically go into place at the beginning of every divorce action in New York. The Automatic Orders restrain the parties from engaging in financial transactions out of the ordinary course. A puzzling question is whether one spouse cutting off the other spouse’s credit cards constitutes a violation of the Automatic Orders.
June 21, 2021
Property values skyrocketed during the COVID 19 pandemic. This is particularly true in vacation spots—such as the Hamptons—as families sought to escape cities in drove. It has been widely reported that “[h]ome sales and rentals on the East End of Long Island picked up at the beginning of the pandemic and are still going strong.” Median sale prices have purportedly increased 31 percent in the first quarter of 2021 alone. New York law raises intriguing questions about whether a party in the midst of a divorce may sell a vacation home.