Man defies court and then argues against contempt

An ongoing property division case may be of interest to Illinois residents. The New York controversy involves a man who sold marital property in violation of the court’s order during his divorce proceeding. Although he was ordered to deposit the proceeds from the sale into an escrow account for the property division, he never did so. He is now arguing that he shouldn’t have to reveal what happened to the money and that he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court.

According to court documents, the man’s wife had initiated the divorce in 2008. In 2009, the man sold the Brooklyn property for $776,000 while the divorce case was still proceeding. In 2010, the court’s property division order indicated that the property had been a part of the marital estate. The man was ordered to deposit the proceeds from the sale into the escrow account for division.

The man has argued that he had already divorced in Lebanon and so the wife was not entitled to any of the money. He also argued that he had no money left from the sale to deposit into the account. His attorney has argued before the New York court that her client cannot be forced to testify. The court’s decision has not been issued yet.

In a divorce, most property acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution orders. Sometimes, one spouse will attempt to transfer property to a close friend or family member in order to try to keep their spouse from receiving their rightful share. A person who believes their spouse is trying to hide assets in this way may need to obtain the assistance of a family law attorney.

Source: ABC News, “Divorcing husband urges NY court to accept silence on money,” Michael Virtanen, Sept. 10, 2015