Poirier v. Demasi

Decision Date26 January 2022
Docket Number2019–07970,Index No. 2618/11
Citation201 A.D.3d 977,162 N.Y.S.3d 411
Parties Stephane R. POIRIER, appellant, v. Noelle M. DEMASI, respondent.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Friedman & Friedman, PLLC, White Plains, NY (David M. Rubenstein of counsel), for appellant.

Joseph J.A. Tringali, Sr., Scarsdale, NY for respondent.

REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., SYLVIA O. HINDS–RADIX, WILLIAM G. FORD, DEBORAH A. DOWLING, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

In an action, inter alia, to vacate the child support provisions set forth in a stipulation of settlement and judgment of divorce, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Westchester County (Laurie I. Sullivan, Ct. Atty. Ref.), dated June 5, 2019. The order, insofar as appealed from, denied those branches of the plaintiff's motion which were for summary judgment on the causes of action to vacate the child support provisions of the stipulation of settlement and judgment of divorce and granted, without a hearing, that branch of the defendant's cross motion which was for summary judgment on the counterclaim for an award of child support arrears accruing between 2010 and 2014 in the sum of $24,426.75.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

The plaintiff and the defendant married in 2000 and have three children together. On November 11, 2009, they entered into a written stipulation of settlement (hereinafter stipulation), which was incorporated but not merged into a subsequent judgment of divorce dated April 29, 2010. The stipulation provided, inter alia, that the plaintiff would pay child support pursuant to a formula differing from that set forth in the Child Support Standards Act ( Domestic Relations Law § 240[1–b] [hereinafter the CSSA]).

The plaintiff commenced this action, inter alia, to set aside the child support provisions of the stipulation and judgment of divorce. In her amended answer, the defendant asserted a counterclaim for child support arrears. The plaintiff moved, among other things, for summary judgment on the causes of action to vacate the child support provisions of the stipulation and judgment of divorce as violative of Domestic Relations Law § 240 and as unconscionable. The defendant opposed the motion and cross-moved, inter alia, for summary judgment on her counterclaim for an award of basic support arrears accruing from 2010 to 2014. In an order dated June 5, 2019, the Supreme Court, inter alia, found that the child support provisions of the stipulation and judgment of divorce did not violate Domestic Relations Law § 240 and were not unconscionable, and awarded the defendant basic child support arrears accruing between 2010 and 2014 in the sum of $24,426.75. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm the order insofar as appealed from.

The Supreme Court properly denied those branches of the plaintiff's motion which were for summary judgment on the causes of action to vacate the child support provisions of the stipulation and judgment of divorce. "Parties to a separation agreement are free to ‘opt out’ of the provisions of the [CSSA] ‘so long as their decision is made knowingly’ " ( Haik v. Haik, 197 A.D.3d 465, 467, 148 N.Y.S.3d 897, quoting Rokitter v. Rockitter, 113 A.D.3d 745, 746, 978 N.Y.S.2d 371 ). "To ensure that waivers of the statutory provisions of the CSSA are truly knowingly made, Domestic Relations Law § 240(1–b)(h) requires that stipulations of settlement include provisions: (1) stating that the parties have been advised of the provisions of the CSSA; (2) stating that the basic child support provisions of the CSSA would presumptively result in the determination of the correct amount of child support to be awarded; (3) stating what the amount of basic child support would have been if calculated pursuant to CSSA, if the parties’ stipulation or agreement deviates from the basic child support obligation; and (4) setting forth the parties’ reason or reasons for deviating from the CSSA calculation, if they have chosen to deviate’ " ( Haik v. Haik, 197 A.D.3d at 467, 148 N.Y.S.3d 897, quoting Cimons v. Cimons, 53 A.D.3d 125, 127, 861 N.Y.S.2d 88 ). Contrary to the plaintiff's contention, the provisions of the stipulation and judgment of divorce regarding the plaintiff's obligation to pay basic child support and a certain portion of add-on expenses sufficiently complied with the recital requirements of the CSSA, as set forth in Domestic Relations Law § 240(1–b)(h) (see Spivak v. Spivak, 177 A.D.3d 660, 661, 109 N.Y.S.3d 872 ).

"An agreement between spouses or prospective spouses which is fair on its face will be enforced according to its terms unless there is proof of fraud, duress, overreaching, or unconscionability" ( Hof v. Hof, 131 A.D.3d 579, 579–580, 16 N.Y.S.3d 569 ). "An unconscionable bargain is one which no person in his or her senses and not under delusion would make on the one hand, and no honest and fair person would accept on the other, the inequality being so strong and manifest as to shock the conscience...

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4 cases
  • Faina P. v. Alexander S.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court
    • April 18, 2022
    ... ... fact as to the amount of legitimacy of the arrears demanded ... ( see Poirier v. Demasi , 201 A.D.3d 977 [2 Dept., ... 2022]; see also Lopez v. Ajose , 33 A.D.3d 976 [2 ... Dept., 2006][former husband who was an ... ...
  • Faina P. v. Alexander S.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court
    • April 18, 2022
    ...raised by Defendant raise a triable issue of fact as to the amount of legitimacy of the arrears demanded (see Poirier v. Demasi , 201 A.D.3d 977, 162 N.Y.S.3d 411 [2 Dept.,2022] ; see also Lopez v. Ajose , 33 A.D.3d 976, 824 N.Y.S.2d 113 [2 Dept.,2006] [former husband who was an attorney wa......
  • Steven G. v. Gary G. (In re Lillian G.)
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • August 31, 2022
    ...N.Y.2d 63, 71, 396 N.Y.S.2d 817, 365 N.E.2d 849 [citations, alterations, and internal quotation marks omitted]; see Poirier v. Demasi, 201 A.D.3d 977, 979, 162 N.Y.S.3d 411 ; O'Hanlon v. O'Hanlon, 114 A.D.3d 915, 916, 981 N.Y.S.2d 141 ). Here, Gary failed to establish that the stipulation d......
  • People v. Hawkins
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • January 26, 2022

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