Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day and the Summer Arrives

It seems like yesterday that the calendar turned to 2013, and now Memorial Day is upon us, with its summer weddings and slow, warm Sunday afternoons.

The office is pretty empty today, with many others choosing to take a 4 day weekend (although the rainy weather here in New York may have put a damper on some of those plans). It's a good time to get the plans ready for the summer, including finalizing some prenuptial agreements for all those weddings on the beach. With a couple of June trials on the horizon, things will continue to hum along this summer, including some more big changes for the office.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, whatever you choose to do.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pro Bono and the Land of Missed Opportunities

It always seems to end up happening when you are trying to help someone out. I've been working on a pro bono case here in Brooklyn, helping a young woman get some parenting time with her children. Back in February when I was first assigned to the case, we had a court appearance and everything seemed to be fine. The client had warned me ahead of time that they judge did not like her, but that is almost everyone's impression of a judge when they show up without an attorney. The first appearance seemed to go fine and we set up the beginnings of a schedule for her to see her children.

Fast forward to May, 3 months later, and come to find out that, despite negotiating time for her to see her children, she has not picked them up once for her scheduled parenting time. The judge was rather surprised that she had not picked the children up, as was I since I had asked her last week and she said the parenting time was going good.

So now we are all in the same position, trying to figure out what is actually going on with the pick ups. My client begins to give excuses, many of them contradicting each other, and then begins to try and blame the children's father. Once that picks up, the whole  thing degrades into a morning of "he said-she said" allegations that do nothing but frustrate the judge.

After we finished, and the judge gave her another change to begin spending time with her children, I asked my client if she was actually going to start seeing them or not. She told me "of course", but then again, that is what she said last time.

For more information on custody and visitation proceedings or to schedule an appointment, please call me (718.568.0221) or visit my website ( for more information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where Does the Time Go - Yet Another Default Motion...

It seems as if there has been an uptick in defaults that have been occurring in my cases. Whether it is the total default of a party at the trial by not even showing up (which happened on Monday), or a party just not appearing or responding to being served with a Summons & Complaint, which suddenly has three motions leaving my office this week, it seems that there are more defaults recently.

The process of obtaining a default is relatively straightforward: you serve the party, they don't answer, you file a motion with the court, you obtain a default judgment. While that is all well and good, that then creates a secondary problem - how do you collect on the judgment? This is further complicated by the fact that most states allow a defaulting Defendant up to a year to file a motion to undue the default judgment and then you are forced to start the action over. If you are attempting to enforce your default judgment in one state (say Texas) against a person who is in a second state (New York), there is a whole second litigation that needs to be initiated to get the first judgment recognized.

In the end, it is never a good idea to default as a litigation strategy - you run the risk that the Court won't even allow you to undue the default. But if you have obtained a judgment on default against another party, don't wait, get your collections attorney on it to get the matter resolved!

For more information about collecting on a judgment, whether entered on default or through other means, please call my office (718.568.0221) or visit my website ( for more information.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Back to the Office...

... has it been this long? It has.

A long trial knocked out the second half of my spring and now there are some more major changes coming to my practice in the next four weeks. In the meantime, this morning brought the fastest counsel fee hearing that I have ever participated in.

As far as cases go, this one had been pending for a long time and it was time to finish up the final stage, which was the counsel fees. Even as I put the invoices and the fees into the record, it amazed me how much work and time had been spent to get this case finished. And since the Court reserved its decision, I will have to wait a while before I find out the end result.

But at least I can get back to the office and plan for the next stages...