When a matrimonial case is commenced, there are automatic orders, forbidding:
Violating these automatic orders, and others, can result in the finding
of “civil contempt.”
after the entry of a judgement of divorce, the remedy of civil contempt does
not apply to enforce the terms of the automatic orders, which remain in
full force and effect
while the case is pending.
In a recent case, one party learned
after receiving a judgement of divorce, that while the trial was pending, and
unbeknownst to her, her husband sold a warehouse in Brooklyn which was
a marital asset, without her consent and without the consent of the court.
The court asserted that the automatic orders were there to preserve the
status quo of property
during the pendency of the action only. The court did note that although civil
contempt is not the proper remedy, the plaintiff could have sought to
vacate the judgment of divorce based on newly discovered evidence. Available options:
A civil contempt motion for the violation of the judgment of divorce;
A proceeding to enforce the terms of the judgment of divorce;
Obtaining an order directing payment of 50% of the value of the property
which was sold; or
An amendment of the judgment of divorce.