Lisa Beth Older analyzes Ruling by New York Court holding that a Rapist is not Entitled to Share in Martial Assets

Lisa Beth Older analyzes Ruling by New York Court holding that a Rapist is not entitled to share in martial assets

A New York divorce court recently declined to recognize a rapist’s right to equitable distribution of marital assets in a divorce case. In the recent case of Alice M. v. Terrance T., 2015 NY Slip Op 51913(U) decided on December 23, 2015, a man convicted of viciously raping his wife asked the Court in his New York divorce case to award him equitable distribution of his wife’s pension and other marital assets.  In New York there is a presumption that during a divorce the Court should equitably distribute the marital assets between the parties. Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(5) and §236(B)(6).

Practically speaking, says New York Divorce Attorney Lisa Beth Older, the starting point in determining who gets what is half, assuming an equal partnership existed in acquisition of that asset during the marriage.  However, the Domestic Relations Law also permits a court to deny equitable distribution of marital assets where there is egregious conduct by one of the spouses against the other. Lisa Beth Older says that the presiding Justice on this case, Jeffrey Sunshine, is a well-respected jurist presiding in the Supreme Court, County of Kings. Justice Sunshine stated in his opinion that the abuse suffered by the Wife at the hands of the Husband represented that rare instance where egregious misconduct precludes the husband from collecting under equitable distribution law. Alice M. v. Terrance T., 2015 NY Slip Op 51913(U)

Judge Sunshine also commented in his decision that Terrance T. did not contribute equally toward the couple’s living expenses of the parties for most of their marriage.  Alice M. v. Terrance T., 2015 NY Slip Op 51913(U).  “This factor indicates that the Court also found as relevant a lack of an equal partnership in the marriage and therefore the commensurate right of the Court to distribute the assets unequally”, says New York Divorce Lawyer Lisa Beth Older.Leading New York Divorce attorney Lisa Beth Older also commented that in denying the Husband’s counterclaim for divorce, Judge Sunshine’s ruling also rejected the position of the husband that the allegations against him were lies and lauded the Wife’s bravery in Court.  Justice Sunshine stated that “…The plaintiff, despite all she endured, compounded by the defendant’s steadfast attempt to interfere in her desire to move on, has displayed both courage and perseverance beyond what any human being should have to endure, and so is noted by this court.” Alice M. v. Terrance T., 2015 NY Slip Op 51913(U).

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