Hirschfeld v. Hirschfeld

Family Law

New York Law Journal

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Justice Laura Drager

Wife sought an award of prejudgment interest. Husband opposed, and alternatively argued if interest was owed, it should not be more than $136,000. An agreement modified the parties' antenuptial pact, and, in consideration, wife withdrew her divorce action. She later sued for breach of contract, and husband began this divorce action, which the court consolidated with wife's action. Wife claimed husband defaulted on his obligations of the modification agreement, noting his divorce action constituted an "operative event" entitling her to certain benefits, including 34 percent of the value of the marital home, which was to be paid no later than 120 days after the event. The parties reached a settlement during trial, noting the only remaining issue was the value of the marital residence. The court ruled the valuation was $7.4 million, entitling wife to more than $2.5 million under the modification agreement. The court also found the issue of the wife's share of the value of the marital home arose under the divorce action, not the contract action. As such, an award of prejudgment interest was left to the court's discretion, and it found 3 percent per annum as of Aug. 5, 2009, was warranted until payment was made.

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