Thursday, July 6, 2017


The general school of thought is that domestic violence victims, when seeking divorce, should not attempt mediation as the mediation can be used as a further tool of abuse and control by the abuser. This was illustrated in the recent decision in Massari v. Massari, 2017 NY Slip Op 50412 - NY: Supreme Court 2017.

A reading of the facts indicated that a serious incident of physical violence led to a separation in which the defendant husband insisted that a mediator referred by his attorney be used. The agreements entered into appear fair on its face in that marital assets were split evenly, however, the agreements provided that maintenance would be waived. The court held:

"While marital assets were distributed equitably, Defendant remains in a position to significantly improve his comfortable standard of living. The Court concludes there is a manifest unfairness in enabling Defendant to maintain a comfortable standard of living, while relegating Plaintiff to a poverty level lifestyle. Christian v. Christian, supra. Accordingly, the Court awards maintenance to the Plaintiff in the amount of $1,000.00 per month, commencing on the entry of Judgment herein and continuing until Defendant reaches the age of 66 and he is eligible for full Social Security benefits, at which time Plaintiff will be eligible for her full Social Security benefits based on her contributions, and her marriage to Defendant. Consequently, Defendant shall continue to maintain his life insurance as set forth in Article XIII of the Agreement."

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