As there is no contrary statutory authority, the interest rate on a distributive award payout is 9%.

So held the Second Department in its October 7, 2015 decision in Cohen v. Cohen. In so holding, the appellate court modified the decision of Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Arthur M. Diamond that had directed that 5% interest be paid.

In this divorce action, the Second Department held that Justice Diamond providently exercised his discretion in finding that the wife was entitled to only a 25% share of the husband’s interest in his law firm. Furthermore, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s evaluation. Nothing in the testimony of the court-appointed appraiser undermined the conclusions in his report as to the proper valuation of the husband’s interest in the firm.

However, it was error to compute postjudgment interest on the wife’s share of the husband’s interest in his law firm at a rate of 5% per annum. Interest was awarded from the date of entry of the judgment of divorce.

Unless otherwise provided by statute, interest on a judgment is to be calculated at the statutory rate of 9% per annum. . . . Here, no applicable statute authorizes interest on the judgment other than at the statutory rate.

The Second Department also held that Justice Diamond erred when failing to award the wife a 50% share of so much of parties 2001 income tax refund as constituted marital property. This appears to have been calculated based upon the pre-commencement portion of the year in which the action was commenced (2001).

Victor Levin, P.C., of Garden City, represented the wife. Sol Barrocas and Allan Cohen, pro se, of Barrocas, Mintz, Misuraca & Record, P.C., of Garden City, represented the husband.