N.Y. Domestic Relations Law Section 238
Expenses in enforcement and modification proceedings

In any action or proceeding to enforce or modify any provision of a judgment or order entered in an action for divorce, separation, annulment, declaration of nullity of a void marriage, declaration of validity or nullity of a judgement of divorce rendered against a spouse who was the defendant in any action outside the state of New York and did not appear therein where such spouse asserts the nullity of such foreign judgment, or an injunction restraining the prosecution in any other jurisdiction of an action for a divorce, or in any proceeding pursuant to section two hundred forty-three, two hundred forty-four, two hundred forty-five, or two hundred forty-six of this article, the court may in its discretion require either party to pay counsel fees and fees and expenses of experts directly to the attorney of the other party to enable the other party to carry on or defend the action or proceeding as, in the court’s discretion, justice requires having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that counsel fees shall be awarded to the less monied spouse. In any such action or proceeding, applications for fees and expenses may be maintained by the attorney for the respective parties in counsel’s own name and in counsel’s own behalf. In exercising the court’s discretion, the court shall seek to assure that each party shall be adequately represented and that where fees and expenses are to be awarded, they shall be awarded on a timely basis, pendente lite, so as to enable adequate representation from the commencement of the proceeding. Applications for the award of fees and expenses may be made at any time or times prior to final judgment. Both parties to the action or proceeding and their representative attorneys, shall file an affidavit with the court detailing the financial agreement between the party and the attorney. Such affidavit shall include the amount of any retainer, the amounts paid and still owing thereunder, the hourly amount charged by the attorney, the amounts paid, or to be paid, any experts, and any additional costs, disbursements or expenses. Payment of any retainer fees to the attorney for the petitioning party shall not preclude any awards of fees and expenses to an applicant which would otherwise be allowed under this section.

Source: Section 238 — Expenses in enforcement and modification proceedings, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/DOM/238 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).

Required residence of parties
Residence of married persons
Notice of nature of matrimonial action
Sequestration of defendant’s property in action for divorce, separation or annulment where defendant cannot be personally served
Title to or occupancy and possession of property
Information as to details of matrimonial actions or proceedings
Special controlling provisions
Counsel fees and expenses
Expenses in enforcement and modification proceedings
Stay in divorce or separation action on default of payment
Custody and child support
Judgment or decree
Order of support by parent
Review and cost of living adjustment of child support orders
Support orders for certain adult dependents
Interference with or withholding of visitation rights
Security for payments by defendant in action for divorce, separation or annulment
Enforcement by execution of judgment or order in action for divorce, separation or annulment
Enforcement of arrears which accrue during pendency of an enforcement proceeding
Child support proceedings and enforcement of arrears
Child support proceedings and enforcement of arrears
Child support proceedings and enforcement of arrears
Enforcement by contempt proceedings of judgment or order in action for divorce, separation or annulment
Persons financially unable to comply with orders or judgments directing the payment of alimony
Alimony or maintenance payments suspended during confinement in prison
Modification of judgment or order in action for divorce or annulment
Trial preferences in matrimonial actions
Agreements relating to marriage
Filing of order in family court
Effect of pendency of action for divorce, separation or annulment on petition for order of protection
Removal of barriers to remarriage
Prerequisites for judgments under articles nine, ten and eleven of this chapter

Nov. 25, 2023

Last modified:
Sep. 22, 2014

§ 238’s source at nysenate​.gov

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