New York judge issues $543K sanction against in-laws in divorce

Posted by Lauren S. CohenSep 04, 20150 Comments

There are nasty divorces, and there are people who do not get along with their in-laws. Imagine having to divorce your mother- and father-in-law, and you might have some idea of what one woman has been going through.

A New York judge has sanctioned the woman's in-laws and their attorneys more than $543,000 for plotting to cause extensive delays in the divorce the woman was going through with their son. The older couple, who control their son's affairs, were trying to “intimidate” their daughter-in-law into granting them split custody of her daughter.

This unusual divorce is complicated by the fact that the husband suffered brain damage in an aneurism nearly seven years ago. His wife was in charge of his care at first, but eventually his mother took over. She moved her son out of a rehab facility and hid him from his wife for several months in 2009, the New York Daily News reports.

One side filed for divorce the following year; it is not clear who. In issuing the court sanction, the judge ruled that the husband's parents directed his attorneys to “delay” an early child custody hearing “as long as you can.” The judge accused the in-laws of falsely claiming their son wanted custody of his daughter, and said they “willfully interfered with [the granddaughter's] development of a positive and loving relationship with her father.”

This is the second time the judge has tried to control the in-laws' behavior with heavy fines. She found them guilty of contempt and ordered them to pay more than $213,500 of the wife's legal bills.

Divorce court is difficult enough, without anyone involved using it as a forum to act vindictively or manipulatively. If you are ever caught in such a nasty fight, you will need a tough, knowledgeable attorney representing you.