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Joinder of Custody Claims and Post-divorce Claims Denied

Justice Falanga, a Supreme Court Justice sitting in Nassau County, recently rendered an unusual decision in a post-matrimonial lawsuit. The parties had been married and the marriage had ended in divorce. In a post-judgement proceeding, the wife asked the court to hold the husband in contempt for his refusal to pay college expenses for the couples’ minor children.

The husband brought a counter-suit against the wife requesting that his obligations to pay child support for his older children be terminated. The husband, in his lawsuit, argued that the children constructively emancipated themselves (this means the children were independent and either no longer in the wife’s household or they were self-supporting).

The court ruled that the joinder of this two actions would cause “an inordinate delay of the adjudication of the wife’s post-judgement divorce enforcement application for college expenses”. Judge Falanga felt that this would be detrimental to the children. He stated in his decision, “children need to eat everyday”. The judge decided that the husband was obligated to fulfill his obligations for child support. The judge held that decision in the divorce were valid unless there was a further order setting it aside.

The court denied the husbands request to join the two issues. The judge’s decision stated the issue of the older children’s emancipation did not share common questions of law and fact with the wife’s application for payments of college expenses.

When life situations change, it is common for the non-custodial spouse to bring an application for reduction of child support.

Our office has been handling fathers rights case involving divorce, child custody, child support, support modification proceedings, orders of protection and paternity for more than 30 years. Call us at 1-800-344-6431 or contact us by email if you need legal assistance.

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