"Verified Complaint For Declaratory Judgment and Equitable Relief"
Sample for Reference SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ________ PLAINTIFF Plaintiff Index no. Date summons filed: -against - VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND EQUITABLE RELIEF DEFENDANT Defendant TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK The Plaintiff, by ATTORNEY, ATTORNEY AT LAW, alleges the following: Nature of the Action 1. Plaintiff brings this action for declaratory judgment dissolving the rights and obligations of her civil union relationship with Defendant and equitable relief that dissolves the civil union. Parties 2. PLAINTIFF is a resident of the State of New York and the County of _______. She has resided in New York State for a continuous period in excess of two years immediately preceding the commencement of this action. She resides at ADDRESS. 3. DEFENDANT is a resident of the State of New York and the County of ________. She resides at ADDRESS. 4. The parties are over the age of 18 years. Law 5. Jurisdiction is proper under CPLR §3001 and the Supreme Court's broad equity jurisdiction. Venue is proper under CPLR §503 and §509. Tara Bognar For reference February 2012 Sample for Reference 6. In Dickerson v. Thompson, 2011 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 5852 (3d Dept. July 21, 2011)(Case No. 511849) [Dickerson II], the Third Department affirmed that the New York Supreme Court has the authority to grant a judgment relieving the parties of the rights and obligations of a Vermont civil union and held that “the dissolution of a civil union falls squarely within the scope of the Supreme Court’s broad equity jurisdiction.” 7. In Dickerson II, the Court ruled that the exercise of its equitable powers was warranted because: Plaintiff is in need of a judicial remedy to dissolve her legal relationship with defendant created by the laws of Vermont. Residency requirements prevent her from obtaining a dissolution of the civil union in Vermont, and the provisions of Domestic Relations Law § 170, which provide for divorce and dissolution of a marriage, are not applicable to this action since the parties did not enter into a marriage in Vermont. Thus, absent Supreme Court's invocation of its equitable power to dissolve the civil union, there would be no court competent to provide plaintiff the requested relief and she would therefore be left without a remedy… Since plaintiff would be entitled to a dissolution of the civil union in Vermont but for that state's residency requirement (see Vt Stat Ann, tit 15, § 551 , ; §§ 592, 1206), we find that equity would be served by granting her the requested relief. 8. In the instant case, equity would similarly be served by granting a declaration relieving the parties of the rights and obligations of the civil union and dissolving the civil union. Facts 9. The Plaintiff and Defendant obtained a civil union on DATE, 200?, in Burlington, VT. 10. Since about DATE, 200?, the relationship has been broken down and the Plaintiff and Defendant have been living separately. Plaintiff is in need of a judicial remedy to dissolve her legal relationship with Defendant created by the laws of Vermont Tara Bognar For reference February 2012 Sample for Reference 11. The Plaintiff wishes to be free of the civil union, the continuing existence of which severely restricts her ability to move forward with her life. The “chilling effects, both potential and actual,” noted in Dickerson II apply to the parties here as well, including the inability to enter into another marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, and the possibility of the parties being vested with certain legal rights with respect to any children the other may later bear. New York law does not provide any other recourse to dissolve the Vermont civil union 12. In Dickerson II, the Court noted that “absent Supreme Court's invocation of its equitable power to dissolve the civil union, there would be no court competent to provide plaintiff the requested relief and she would therefore be left without a remedy.” New York Domestic Relations Law §170 still provides only for divorce and dissolution of a marriage and no other means for dissolving a Vermont civil union has been provided for by New York law. Residency requirements prevent the Plaintiff from obtaining a dissolution of the civil union in Vermont 13. The Plaintiff is precluded from seeking dissolution of the civil union in Vermont by the residency requirement in Vermont Domestic Relations Law art. 592, which requires a residency period of at least six months (15 V.S.A. § 592). § 592. Residence: A complaint for divorce or annulment of civil marriage may be brought if either party to the marriage has resided within the state for a period of six months or more, but a divorce shall not be decreed for any cause, unless the plaintiff or the defendant has resided in the state one year next preceding the date of final hearing. Temporary absence from the state because of illness, employment without the state, service as a member of the armed forces of the United States, or other legitimate and bona fide cause shall not affect the six months' period or the one-year period specified in the preceding sentence, provided the person has otherwise retained residence in this state. Tara Bognar For reference February 2012 Sample for Reference Plaintiff would be entitled to a dissolution of the civil union in Vermont but for that state's residency requirement 14. According to Vermont law, the dissolution of civil unions is governed by the same law as the dissolution of marriages. (15 V.S.A. § 1206) § 1206. Dissolution of civil unions: The family division of the superior court shall have jurisdiction over all proceedings relating to the dissolution of civil unions. The dissolution of civil unions shall follow the same procedures and be subject to the same substantive rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of civil marriage in accordance with chapter 11 of this title, including any residency requirements. 15. The Plaintiff would otherwise be entitled to seek dissolution of the civil union in Vermont, which recognizes separation for at least 6 consecutive months combined with the unlikelihood of resumption of marital relations as proper grounds for divorce. (15 V.S.A. § 551(7)) § 551. Grounds for divorce from bond of matrimony: A divorce from the bond of matrimony may be decreed: … (7) When a married person has lived apart from his or her spouse for six consecutive months and the court finds that the resumption of marital relations is not reasonably probable. 16. The Plaintiff and Defendant have been living apart for more than six consecutive months and the resumption of marital relations is not reasonably probable. There are no other issues ancillary to the dissolution of the civil union 17. The parties have no outstanding issues of conflict to bring to the court: a. There are no children of the relationship, and no child is expected; b. The parties have no joint property; c. No request is made for judicial intervention in the division of property and no claim will be made by either party under equitable distribution. Wherefore, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: Tara Bognar For reference February 2012 Sample for Reference 1. Declare the parties free of all rights and obligations of their civil union. 2. Dissolve the civil union. Dated: _____________________________________ ATTORNEY STATE OF NEW YORK, COUNTY OF ____________, ss. I, PLAINTIFF, am the Plaintiff in the within action for declaratory judgment and equitable relief. I have read the foregoing Complaint and know the contents thereof. The contents of the Complaint are true to my own knowledge, except as to those matters therein stated to be alleged upon information and belief, and as to those matters I believe them to be true. ___________________________________ PLAINTIFF Sworn to before me this _____day of _______, _________ ________________________________________________ Notary Public Tara Bognar For reference February 2012