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On Appeal: Tax Fraud and Fairness

In a Supreme Court, Queens County matter, a recent ruling on an appeal was problematic for a wife who made contradictory claims about her marital estate. 

In Morille-Hinds v Hinds, the judge was confronted with a couple who admittedly underreported their income on their tax returns. Throughout the marriage, the couple did not report the income of the husband, defendant Alfred Hinds. 

Since their marriage in 1993, Mr. Hinds worked in the home, caring for their child and taking side repair and renovation projects as a handyman. Ms. Hinds worked as a microbiologist, traveled widely and enhanced her career partially through the efforts of Mr. Hinds. 

The appeal was brought by Mr. Hinds after an earlier decision awarded him only 15 percent of the marital estate and required him to pay $233 per week in child support based on a potential salary of $80,000 per year. The plaintiff had earlier testified the highest earnings Mr. Hinds had enjoyed in any year of their marriage was $18,570.00. 

Points in the case include: 

  • The plaintiff testified that Mr. Hinds was lazy. She stated her income created and supported the success of the couple. Ms. Hinds argued that the property of the marital estate should be considered her separate property because of her financial contribution.
  • The court pointed to credible evidence that Mr. Hinds cared for their child. In addition, his successful purchasing and renovating of properties was largely responsible for the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the couple.
  • The court found arguments by Ms. Hinds lacking and awarded Mr. Hinds 50 percent of future sales of properties of the marital estate and an equal percentages of investment and retirement accounts. The court, given the behavior and accusations of Ms. Hinds, also required her to pay reasonable attorney fees for Mr. Hinds. 

In this matter, despite the tax irregularities, the court upheld the New York rules of equitable distribution of marital property. 

When you have concerns about property division in Long Island, contact my firm, Bryan L. Salamone and Associates, P.C., for knowledgeable legal guidance.

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