'Obstructionist' Ex-Husband Ordered to Pay Wife's Legal Fees

, New York Law Journal

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A judge skewered a divorcing husband in a fight over legal fees, calling him "the most consistently obstructive, least cooperative, cagiest, least candid witness that the court has observed."

Westchester Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood (See Profile) ordered Joseph Medina to pay $53,000 in fees to his ex-wife in light of his "recalcitrance and obstructionist tactics."

In his Dec. 17 fee award in Medina v. Medina, 2162/2011, Wood wrote Joseph Medina's "willingness to lie was only exceeded by his arrogance, which apparently permits him to believe that the court might possibly buy the bridge he is selling. The world in which Mr. Medina lives, is at best in a parallel universe. Based upon the record, the court finds that the husband prolonged the litigation in bad faith, causing the wife to incur significantly higher attorney fees than reasonably should have been necessary."

Joseph Medina and his wife, Agnieszka, married in November 2001 and have a five-year-old son.

During the marriage, Agnieszka Medina got her real estate license and for the past two years sold real estate for a developer. Prior to that, she was unemployed for a year and a half after working in sales for six years with another developer.

In 2011, she earned $87,000 and earned almost $60,000 in 2010.

Joseph Medina had licenses to sell insurance and securities and works for a securities firm where he is paid solely on commission. He previously earned almost $88,000 at a different firm in 2011.

Agnieszka Medina filed for divorce in January 2011.

During the proceedings, Wood said Joseph Medina "unnecessarily escalated the wife's counsel fees in some of the usual, unsurprising, garden-variety ways" such as failing to comply with court orders, falling behind on support, untimely discovery compliance, failure to produce financial disclosures and tardiness for court dates.

After a six-day bench trial, Wood ruled in March 2013 on issues including equitable distribution, parental access, child support and maintenance.

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