Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York State Latches

Q:  My ex-husband and I were legally separated in 1997 and divorced in 2006. The separation agreement stated that we have joint custody with myself having primary physical placement and that my ex pay me $200 weekly for our children. The separation agreement was incorporated into our divorce. He has been receiving disability SSDI for approximately 20 years. He did not pay me the amount stated, giving me $300-$400 per month. I did not know until recently that he had been receiving SSDI benefits for each of our children until they reached the age of 18 which meant that he was actually able to pay his child support obligation in full. My ex always claimed that he was on the verge of poverty and was paying me as much as he could. Now we are in Court and he is trying to use latches as his defense. I didn't go after the money before because I didn't think I could get blood from a stone. Can he use latches to get out of this?

A:  David's Answer:  While he can claim laches, since you can only enforce an order/judgment (not an agreement in itself, at least not in a matrimonial action), it doesn't seem to me a fair & just result to apply same after delaying the filing for 8 years. It may turn, in part, on whether you made any demands that he pay what he owes in the intervening years. You should schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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