Culver v. Culver

NEW YORK COUNTY
Family Law

New York Law Journal

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Justice Lori Sattler

In this post-judgment plenary action, ex-husband moved for an order directing ex-wife to replead her counterclaims. She opposed and cross-moved for summary judgment on the grounds of res judicata, in this action arising from claims related to the parties' divorce, which was granted in 1994 in Connecticut. Husband was previously ordered to pay child support arrears and counsel fees, but has failed to do so. He interposed defenses to wife's earlier contempt proceeding, claiming they entered into an oral agreement modifying the terms of their stipulation, and he tendered amounts due for child support by paying private school tuition and other expenses. The court noted the 2008 order addressed husband's claims regarding the alleged oral agreement, finding it was ineffective to modify the stipulation and judgment. It noted Connecticut rendered the prior decisions relating to the parties and their alleged oral agreement, and this court must apply the laws of that state. The court said husband expressly agreed in the stipulation that oral modifications would be ineffective, and was aware of the procedure for modification as he previously executed a written modification requiring judicial intervention. Thus, dismissal was proper under the doctrine of res judicata.

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