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In a matrimonial matter, the former husband sought to “vacate or modify” the terms of the parties’ maintenance arrangement which had been “incorporated by reference” in their judgment of divorce.  While the wife sought to recoup all unpaid maintenance payments.

When the New York County Supreme Court denied the parties' respective requests, an appeal ensued.

On its review, the Appellate Division, First Department, noted that there was no basis to deem the parties' agreement “unconscionable, either procedurally or substantively.”

Not only had the guy been repeatedly advised to retain counsel (and opted not to do so), but he was also “highly educated and proficient in business matters, and was heavily involved in negotiating and revising the agreement's terms.” Since there had been no “overreaching,” and the agreement was in the appropriate form, the AD1 could discern no basis for its invalidation. (Also given their 28-year marriage, and that the spouse had not worked for pay, the court didn’t think the payment of 50% of his after-tax income for a 10-year period “was so manifestly unjust” or “substantively unconscionable.”)

As for his request to recover any over-payments, the AD1noted that such refunds are “generally disfavored.” And, in any event, the husband purportedly failed to provide his ex with all the documentation needed to determine his after-tax net income and that also operated to his detriment.

Given that backdrop, the AD1 sent the matter back for the entry of a money judgment representing all outstanding maintenance payment due to his former wife.

Think they’ll drink to that?

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Beer v. Beer