BENZAKEN v. BENZAKEN


21 A.D.3d 391 (2005)

799 N.Y.S.2d 579

SAMMY BENZAKEN, Appellant, v. ARETINA BENZAKEN, Respondent.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Department.

August 8, 2005.


Ordered that the resettled amended judgment is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in awarding the wife maintenance in the sum of $350 per week for a period of three years retroactive to August 8, 2003. "It is axiomatic that the amount and duration of maintenance is a matter committed to the sound discretion of the trial court and every case must be determined on its unique facts" (Mazzone v. Mazzone, 290 A.D.2d 495, 496 [2002]). "[O]ne of the purposes of an award of maintenance is to encourage economic independence" (Ventimiglia v. Ventimiglia, 307 A.D.2d 993, 995 [2003]). The Supreme Court properly evaluated the factors listed in Domestic Relations Law § 236 (B) (6) (a) in determining the maintenance award. The husband lives in a house owned by his mother and pays no rent. He also reported having $207,729.83 in assets and no liabilities. Moreover, he retained sole ownership of the family business pursuant to the resettled amended judgment. Although the wife has significant savings, she is unemployed and requires training to find employment. An award of maintenance for a period of three years is sufficient to enable the plaintiff to complete a course of training and obtain employment (see Ventimiglia v. Ventimiglia, supra; Unterreiner v. Unterreiner, 288 A.D.2d 463 [2001]).

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in directing the husband to procure a life insurance policy as security for his maintenance obligation (see Domestic Relations Law § 236 [B] [8] [a]; Corless v. Corless, 18 A.D.3d 493, 494 [2005]; Comstock v. Comstock, 1 A.D.3d 307, 308 [2003]).

"The evaluation of what constitutes reasonable counsel fees is a matter within the sound discretion of the trial court" (Lefkowitz v. Van Ess, 166 A.D.2d 556, 556 [1990]; citing DeCabrera v. Cabrera-Rosete, 70 N.Y.2d 879, 881 [1987]). The trial court is in the best position to judge the factors integral to determining counsel fees, such as the time, effort, and skill required (see Feldman v. Feldman, 194 A.D.2d 207, 219 [1993]). "A court must consider the equities and circumstances of each particular case and [the parties'] respective financial positions in determining a counsel fee application" (Palumbo v. Palumbo, 10 A.D.3d 680, 682 [2004]). In light of the disparity between the economic circumstances of the parties, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in directing the husband to pay the wife an attorney's fee in the sum of $4,000.


Comment

1000 Characters Remaining

Leagle.com reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

User Comments

Listed below are the cases that are cited in this Featured Case. Click the citation to see the full text of the cited case. Citations are also linked in the body of the Featured Case.

Cited Cases

  • No Cases Found

Listed below are those cases in which this Featured Case is cited. Click on the case name to see the full text of the citing case.

Citing Cases