New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook by Joel R. Brandes is available in Bookstores and online in the print edition at the Bookbaby Bookstore, Amazon Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and other online book sellers. It is also available in Kindle ebook editions and epub ebook editions for all ebook readers in our website bookstore. The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook is divided into five parts: (1) Preliminary Matters Prior to the Commencement of Trial, Conduct of Trial and Rules of Evidence Particularly Applicable in Matrimonial Matters; (2); Establishing Grounds for Divorce, Separation and Annulment and Defenses; (3) Obtaining Maintenance, Child Support, Exclusive Occupancy and Counsel Fees; (4) Property Distribution and Evidence of Value; and (5) Trial of a Custody Case. There are thousands of suggested questions for the examination and cross-examination of witnesses dealing with very aspect of the matrimonial trial. Click on this link for more information about the contents of the book and on this link for the complete table of contents.

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook was reviewed by Bernard Dworkin, Esq., in the New York Law Journal on December 21, 2017. His review is reprinted on our website at with the permission of the New York Law Journal.

Joel R. Brandes, is the author of Law and The Family New York, 2d (9 volumes) (Thomson Reuters), and Law and the Family New York Forms (5 volumes) (Thomson Reuters). Law and the Family New York, 2d is a treatise and a procedural guide. Volume 4A of the treatise contains more than 950 pages devoted to an analysis of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. It contains a complete discussion of the cases construing the Convention which have been decided by the United States Supreme Court, the Circuit Courts of Appeal, the District Courts, and the New York Courts.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Dias v DeSouza, 2016 WL 6821067 (D. Mass)[Brazil] [Attorneys Fees and Costs]

          In Dias v DeSouza, 2016 WL 6821067 (D. Mass) the Court granted the Petition of Marina De Aguiar for the return  her thirteen-year-old daughter, to Brazil and found that Petitioner had established the prerequisite for an award of necessary expenses under the fee-shifting provision of the ICARA, 22 U.S.C. § 9007(b)(3). Petitioner filed a motion in which Petitioner requested an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $28,697.50 and costs in the amount of $1,004.20, for a total award of $29,701.70.  The motion was granted for an amount less than requested by Petitioner. The District Court observed that the primary issues which the Court must resolve in determining whether such an award is appropriate is “first, whether the claimed expenses are ‘necessary,’ and second, whether an order against respondent would be ‘clearly inappropriate.’ ” De Souza v. Negri, No. 14-13788-DJC; 2015 WL 727934, at *2 (D.Mass. February 19, 2015) The burden of proof to establish necessity is upon the Petitioner. The burden to establish that a fee award would be “clearly inappropriate” is upon the Respondent. The Court found that  Petitioner had limited financial means. Petitioner’s  legal team consisted of a paralegal billed at the rate of $150.00 per hour and two partner level attorneys, one of whom billed at the hourly rate of $400.00 and one of whom was billed at the hourly rate of 375.00. The Court found that the rates charged by these attorneys were reasonable considering the usual price charged for similar services in Boston, but were slightly on the high end for similar services in this area. For that reason, it reduced each of the attorney’s hourly rates by $25.00. It reduced the rate charged for the paralegal to $90.00 per hour, which is in line with the rate charged by a moderately experienced paralegal in Central Massachusetts. The Court agreed with Respondent that there was some overlap between the two attorneys and that the sparsity of detail with regard to services rendered warrantsed a reduction in the amount of the fees. Thus, it reduced  each attorneys’ hours by approximately one third. It found all costs ($1,004.20) to have been necessary. Therefore, the total recovery of necessary attorneys’ fees and costs was $18,704.20. The Court found that Respondent  failed to establish that an award of attorneys’ fees and costs to Petitioner would be clearly inappropriate.