“Chutzpah” may be defined as audacity (wikipedia); or unmitigated effrontery, impudence or gall (urbandictionary.com and dictionary.reference.com). Perhaps Rosemarie B.T. should be pictured in those sources [no, that is not her pictured to the right].

Rosemarie married her second husband, Antony, in a civil ceremony in Beacon, NY, on April 28, 2000. Upon the parties’ application for a marriage license, Rosemarie did not indicate that she was a party to a previous marriage. However, it was not until a month after the parties’ marriage that her Kings County Supreme Court divorce judgment from her first husband was signed on May 24, 2000 (and entered July 6, 2000).

This 2011 Dutchess County Supreme Court action was brought by Antony to declare the marriage void. Rosemarie counterclaimed for divorce.

The October 4, 2013 decision of Acting Supreme Court Justice James D. Pagones (and Judge of the Surrogate’s Court) in Antony T. v. Rosemarie B.T. resolved Rosemarie’s motion to take this matter off the trial calendar, award her $2,543.31 per month as interim maintenance; and to direct Antony to pay $20,000.00 for interim counsel fees. It also resolved Antony’s motion for summary judgment declaring that his marriage is void and to dismiss Rosemarie’s counterclaim for divorce.

New York allows a person to have solely one spouse at a time, thus, polygamy and bigamy are prohibited in New York [citation omitted]. DRL §6 states that where one of the parties has a living spouse from a prior marriage and that prior marriage was not dissolved by either an annulment, divorce, or pursuant to DRL § 220, the second marriage is void ab initio . . . .

Justice Pagones ruled that the documents submitted by Antony established, prima facie, that Rosemarie was still legally married to another man at the time of the parties’ wedding and, therefore, the “marriage” of the parties on April 28, 2000 is void.

Moreover, Antony introduced evidence that Rosemarie married, once again, on February 14, 2002 [Happy Valentine’s Day]. Thus, Antony established, prima facie, that Rosemarie was precluded from seeking permanent maintenance.

As Rosemarie failed to raise an issue of fact requiring resolution by trial, Justice Pagones granted Antony summary judgment declaring the April 28, 2000 marriage void, dismissing Rosemarie’s counterclaim for divorce, and holding that Rosemarie was precluded from seeking maintenance.

It is noted that Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(2) includes actions to declare the nullity of a void marriage within the category of “matrimonial actions.” Under D.R.L. §236(B)(5-a), in any matrimonial action, the court “shall” make an award of temporary maintenance in accordance with the formula enacted in 2010. Under D.R.L. §236(B)(6), post-divorce maintenance “may” be ordered in any matrimonial action in such amount as justice requires.

Here, however, Antony was saved from the potential maintenance awards by Rosemarie’s “third” marriage. As the marriage to Antony was void from its beginning, Rosemarie’s third marriage was presumably valid because when it occurred in 2002, Rosemarie was divorced from her first husband. The second marriage (to Antony) didn’t count.

Betty J. Potenza, of Highland represented the husband. Michael S. Pascazi, of Pascazi Law Offices, PLLC, of Fishkill, represented the wife.