DOES THIS RING TRUE TO YOU?
When the parties divorced, a stipulation provided that the wife would “secure a price to sell the ring,” and that the wife would have the option to sell the piece subject to the husband’s 30-day “right of first refusal” to purchase the item at 50% off the highest cash price offered. When she later sought to sell the jewelry to a third-party, the husband declined to exercise his purchase right, but later sought to recover 50% of the sale proceeds.
When the wife declined to fork over the cash, the husband sought an order of contempt from the Nassau County Supreme Court, which ended up denying that request. And on appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department, agreed with that outcome.
As the AD2 noted in its decision, for a party to hold another in contempt, the following elements must be established to a judge's satisfaction:
“(1) that a lawful order of the court was in effect, clearly expressing an unequivocal mandate, (2) the appearance, with reasonable certainty, that the order was disobeyed, (3) that the party to be held in contempt had knowledge of the court's order, and (4) prejudice to the right of a party to the litigation.'"
In this instance, because the parties’ agreement didn't require the wife to share “any portion of” the ring’s sale proceeds with her "ex," the AD2 didn’t think any order or mandate had been breached.
Bet he didn’t give that decision a ringing endorsement ….
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