Even when a party is out of the country, he or she still needs to comply with New York law in divorce proceedings. This includes appearing for depositions and hearing as well as answering discovery. Failure to do any of these things can result in sanctions that may include a prohibition for entering evidence in a divorce proceeding.
A Case Example: Terekhina v. Terekhin
The parties in Terekhina v. Terekhin were married in Russia in 2000. They planned to move to New York in 2010 to take advantage of New York’s advanced prenatal care options. In 2011, they purchased a home and moved to Staten Island. Shortly thereafter, their second child was born. However, the defendant, Mr. Terekhin, was arrested a few months later for allegations of assault against his wife, Ms. Terekhina. The family law court ordered that he stay away from his two children and wife.
In 2012, Ms. Terekhina sought child support from her ex-husband. By this time, however, Mr. Terekhin had already moved back to Russia and filed for divorce. In 2013, a Russian court granted the divorce and determined that the children were to stay with the ex-wife in the United States. However, the court did not make any determinations regarding the marital property, alimony, or child support.
Meanwhile, Ms. Terekhina sold the home in Staten Island and initiated divorce proceedings in the United States. As part of the proceedings, the parties engaged in written discovery wherein Mr. Terekhin was required to answer questions related to the divorce. He was also directed to participate in a deposition to answer questions. However, he neither answered the questions asked in written discovery nor appeared to his scheduled deposition. Ms. Terekhina then asked for sanctions against her ex-husband for failure to follow these legal procedures.
Originally, Mr. Terekhin hired an attorney in New York, but the attorney attempted to withdraw and the defendant noted he wanted to represent himself going forward. However, he also attempted to have an attorney in Russia represent him, despite the fact that the Russian attorney was not licensed in New York. Although Mr. Terekhin had a power of attorney in place for the Russian attorney, the court determined that this individual was unable to represent him.
The court also concluded that Mr. Terekhin should have responded to discovery requests and appeared for his deposition, but sanctions were too harsh because he argued that he was not healthy enough to travel to the United States. However, the court ordered that Mr. Terekhin must respond to discovery requests and schedule a deposition within 60 days of the filing of the court order.
Getting Legal Help with a Family Law Matter in New York
Even in situations where the defendant is not living in the United States, he or she must follow the rules of the New York court system. This usually means that the individual must find a New York attorney and comply with all discovery matters.
Divorces that deal with those who live outside the United States can be complicated, so it is important to have an attorney by your side who understands the laws in New York. Call the Law Office of Yonatan Levoritz at 718-942-4004 for more information.