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How do I enforce my divorce Judgment?
October 15, 2017
Enforcing your Divorce Judgment
The power to give a divorce judgment and other forms of relief not mentioned herein is not given to Family Court. So only the Supreme Court retains exclusive jurisdiction over granting a divorce and providing litigants with other forms of relief granted by statute, such as exclusive possession of the marital residence. Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR). If one spouse fails to heed the order of the court you can go back to court to enforce it. When you go to enforce the terms of your divorce judgment you must go to the Court that is listed in your divorce judgment to seek relief.
Please note that in order to get your divorce papers signed, as of August 2017 the clerk of the court requires that you include new language in your divorce judgment that seems to indicate that unless you preserve your rights to have the enforcement of the terms of your divorce heard in Supreme Court the parties will be restricted to file in Family Court. So, look to the divorce judgment to determine where you should file your papers.
The New Language on the e-website is as follows:
“ORDERED AND ADJUDGED, that the Supreme Court shall retain jurisdiction to hear any applications to enforce the provisions of said Settlement Agreement or to enforce or modify the provisions of this judgment, provided the court retains jurisdiction of the matter concurrently with the Family Court for the purpose of specifically enforcing, such of the provisions of that (separation agreement)(stipulation agreement) as are capable of specific enforcement, to the extent permitted by law, and of modifying such judgment with respect to maintenance, support, custody or visitation to the extent permitted by law.” See the below link for more firms https://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/divorce_withchildrenunder21.shtml
To conclude, make sure you try to include language in your judgment that allows the Supreme Court divorce judge to retain concurrent jurisdiction with Family Court. Sometimes it is best to go back to the same Judge who is familiar with your case. But if you do not preserve that right in your divorce judgment, then you may have to file only in Family Court.
By: Lisa Beth Older, Esq.
Your NY Divorce Lawyer