Schaeffer v. Schaeffer – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Schaeffer v. Schaeffer (294 AD2d 420, 741 N.Y.S.2d 895 [2d Dept 2002]), a motion by the plaintiff-wife to impose a sanction upon the defendant-husband pursuant to 22 NYCRR 130-1.1 was granted in an action for a divorce and ancillary relief because the defendant, by means of deceit and subterfuge, commenced a foreign divorce action after he had already appeared in the New York divorce action and had submitted to the jurisdiction of the New York courts, and after the plaintiff-wife had already moved to hold him in contempt for his failure to comply with a pendente lite order.

The record in Schaeffer (294 AD2d at 420-421) had established that the actions of the defendant-husband were made in bad faith in order to circumvent the pendente lite order and the pending contempt proceeding against him and solely for the purpose of harassing and maliciously injuring the plaintiff-wife.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, in Schaeffer (294 AD2d at 421), therefore, found that the Supreme Court, Kings County, Rigler, J. had correctly refused to recognize the foreign divorce granted in Israel while the New York action was pending since "the facts and circumstances of that case clearly supported the proposition that the particular divorce decree of the foreign country was the product of individualized fraud or coercion or oppression.'"

Indeed, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Schaeffer (294 AD2d at 421), found that "the proceeding in Israel was the result of the fraud, duress, and deceit practiced by the defendant upon the plaintiff and the courts," and, as a result, the Supreme Court was not obligated to extend comity to the divorce granted in Israel.