Putting together a matrimonial Judgment Roll can be one of the most frustrating tasks faced by family law practitioners. The Judgment Rolls have become increasingly complicated over the years, and it seems as if new requirements are constantly being added on. In fact, a new one surfaced as this was being written.
The continued use of the “Uncontested Matrimonial Checklist,” which despite its name is required for both uncontested and contested divorces, contributes to the confusion. This Checklist is in serious need of an update. A Judgment Roll including only the items listed will likely be returned with a request for the additional documents. Following is a summary of the documents normally included in matrimonial Judgement Rolls.
The following Judgment Roll documents are self-explanatory: Copy of Request for Judicial Intervention, Summons or Summons with Notice, Admission of Service or Affidavit of Service, Complaint and/or Counterclaim (necessary for each party taking a divorce), Affidavit of Regularity, DRL §75-j Affidavit (if minor children), DRL §253 Affidavit (if marriage ceremony was religious), Attorney Fee Affidavit (if fees requested), Certified Supreme Court or Family Court Orders (if incorporated into Judgment by reference), County Clerk’s Certificate of Filing Separation Agreement or Decree (if conversion divorce), Proof any unrepresented party received copy of the Child Support Standards Chart (if child support), Completed Itemization Sheet for Computation of Income.
The following documents can be trickier:
* Copy of Note of Issue and Statement of Readiness: This is required even though the case was settled and never was placed on the court docket.
* Statement as to whether oral proof will be offered: Although at one time an actual statement was required, as it is fairly obvious whether proof was offered orally (i.e., via an Oral Stipulation) or by a sworn statement (i.e., an Affidavit in Lieu of Testimony), common practice is to not include a separate statement.
* Current Statement of Net Worth: This is required for both parties, if possible, although in a true default divorce it is unlikely that the defaulting spouse will be compliant. Note that the Statement of Net Worth is to be current, and if a matrimonial action is protracted, the Court may reject very dated material.
* Testimonial Affidavit and/or oral testimony of each party taking divorce: Remember that if the divorce is mutual, both parties need to produce such testimony.
* Proposed Decision or Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law: Technically, the Findings/Conclusions is supposed to be only used when a referee takes the testimony, and a proposed Decision should be provided if a Supreme Court Justice does. The common practice in the Seventh Judicial District is to provide Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in all cases. If all or part of the matter tries, the presiding Justice commonly provides the Decision, which, of course, must be included. Certain statements must be included in this document. Appendix B to NYCRR §202.50(b) has samples. Although the language may not be the most eloquent, all the required parts are there.
* Proposed Judgement: Again, Appendix B has samples of this document. When in doubt, turn to it.
* Separation Agreement, Separation Decree, or Transcript of Oral Stipulation and Affidavit of Appearance and Adoption of Oral Stipulation: Make sure this is included. The simplest way of ensuring this is to attach the original Agreement (or copy if original is already filed with the County Clerk) or Transcript and Adoption—plus any subsequent pre-Judgment modifications—directly behind the original Judgment under the same cover. If there was a trial and a Decision, the Decision should be included, as well. By attaching the appropriate document to the Judgment incorporating it, all parts of the complete Judgment will be together.
If there are minor children, the following documents are to be included in the Judgment Roll:
* Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) (if either party is ordered to carry health insurance for the children).
* Child Support Registration Form (unless child support will be paid through the Support Collection Unit).
* UCS-111 Child Support Summary Form: Effective immediately, this replaces the UCS-113 form listed on the Uncontested Matrimonial Checklist, and it is only required when there is a child support obligation.
Sara Stout Ashcraft is of counsel with Goldman Newman Shinder Franklin & Young. She concentrates her practice in the areas of matrimonial and family law.