Trepel v. Trepel

Family Law

, New York Law Journal


Justice Lori Sattler

Wife moved to direct husband to continue paying basic child support under the terms of the parties' stipulation of settlement. Husband cross-moved for a declaration the parties' daughter, N., was emancipated. Husband offered N.'s affidavit stating wife told N. she was moving in with her boyfriend in Philadelphia, but N. was not moving in with them. Husband found N. an apartment for her to reside in when she was not living at her school in Atlanta. Wife alleged husband's unilateral actions were designed to circumvent his child support obligations under the stipulation. The court stated the stipulation made the parties' intention clear that basic child support payments to wife would continue during N.'s residence at school. It rejected husband's contention that a change in where N. spent vacations and school breaks while attending school full-time in Atlanta could effectuate an emancipation event under the stipulation's terms. The court ruled husband used self-help to substitute voluntary payments to his daughter for payments to her mother, in contravention of the stipulation. Thus, it found husband's argument N. was emancipated failed, and his unilateral suspension of child support payments was unwarranted.

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