Equitable Distribution: A Law in Search of Principles - 2009


by: Timothy M. Tippins

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The Court of Appeals handed down a pair of decisions on May 7, 2009 in which copious issues repose.[1]  In accordance with the seemingly inexorable gravitation toward the opaque that has marked appellate opinions in recent years, not all of the issues and their potential implications are immediately apparent from the opinions themselves.  Now more than ever before it is essential to go back to the underlying trial and Appellate Division opinions to fully appreciate what is at hand.  Such excavation is a particularly worthwhile enterprise in the present instance and yields insight into such matters as valuation date selection, equitable recoupment, judicial estoppel, quasi estoppel, classification and distribution of separate property appreciation, and treatment of excess pendente lite payments.  This monograph will explore these various issues in an effort to see where their threads fit within the tapestry of equitable distribution law and to discern the trends that they may presage.

[1] Mahoney-Buntzman v. Buntzman, 12 N.Y.3d 415, 909 N.E.2d 62, 881 N.Y.S.2d 369 (2009);

Johnson v. Chapin, 12 N.Y.3d 461, 909 N.E.2d 66, 881 N.Y.S.2d 373 (2009)

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About The Authors

timTimothy Tippins Esq.

Timothy M. Tippins, Esq. is an adjunct professor at Albany Law School and serves on the faculty of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and on the Affiliate Postdoctoral Forensic Faculty at St. John’s University. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Forensic Psychology at Siena College. He is a private practitioner who has engaged in matrimonial and family law practice since 1975 and devotes his practice exclusively to serving as trial counsel and consultant to other family law practitioners on a nationwide basis, with special emphasis on the presentation and cross-examination of expert mental health testimony. Tippins has served in all major professional leadership positions in the New York family law community, including President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - New York Chapter, Chair of the NYSBA Family Law Section, and Chair of the NYSBA Task Force on Family Law. Tippins is a regular feature columnist for the New York Law Journal and is the author of the multi-volume treatise New York Matrimonial Law & Practice (West Publishing).

Company Name: MatLaw Systems Corp.
E-mail: tmtippins@matlaw.com