Can the Judge Require Life Insurance?


It is relief that the court may grant a party directing his/her spouse to provide insurance; for the benefit of his/her spouse or his/her children.

When is Special Relief available in New York?

Realistically, in any matrimonial action. Here are examples below:

1. Family Law Cases

  • Orders of Protection: Special Relief in the form of an order of protection can be granted in cases involving domestic violence or harassment. This order aims to protect individuals from their abuser by limiting or prohibiting contact between the parties.
  • Emergency Custody Orders: In situations where a child’s safety is at risk, the court may grant emergency custody orders. This type of Special Relief temporarily alters custody arrangements to safeguard the well-being of the child.
  • Temporary Maintenance: During divorce proceedings, a court might award temporary spousal support to ensure financial stability for the less economically stable spouse.

2. Property Disputes

  • Preliminary Injunctions: If there is a dispute over property that might cause significant loss or damage to one party while the legal case is ongoing, a preliminary injunction can be issued. This prevents any party from altering the state of the property until the court makes a final decision.
  • Partition Actions: In cases where property is owned jointly, and the parties cannot agree on the disposition of the property, the court may order a partition. This legal process divides the property physically or orders its sale with proceeds divided among the owners.

3. Contract Disputes

  • Specific Performance: When monetary damages are insufficient as a remedy for breach of contract, the court may order specific performance, compelling the party who breached the contract to fulfill their obligations as per the terms of the contract.

4. Employment Law

  • Reinstatement: In cases involving wrongful termination, a court might order reinstatement if it deems that monetary compensation is not an adequate remedy.

5. Intellectual Property

  • Cease and Desist Orders: In cases of intellectual property infringement, the court might issue a cease and desist order to stop the infringing activities immediately.

Conditions for Granting Special Relief

To be granted any form of Special Relief, the petitioner typically needs to demonstrate:

  • Immediate and Irreparable Harm: There is a substantial likelihood of suffering harm that cannot be adequately compensated by monetary damages.
  • Likelihood of Success on the Merits: The petitioner is likely to succeed in the case’s underlying legal claims.
  • Balance of Equities: The court considers the relative conveniences and inconveniences to the parties involved.

What can the Court order a party to do?

  • Purchase, maintain or assign a policy of insurance for health and hospital care. And, related services for either spouse or children;
  • Purchase, maintain or assign a policy of insurance on the life of either spouse. And, designate either spouse or children of the marriage as irrevocable beneficiary;

Are there any restrictions or limitations on the court’s ability to order Special Relief”?

  • The policy of insurance for health and hospital care and related services for either spouse or children cannot be for longer than party is obligated to pay maintenance, child support, or a distributive award;
  • The life insurance may be during a period of time fixed by the Court. But, the beneficiaries’ interest must terminate upon the termination of the spouse’s obligation to pay maintenance, child support, a distributive award, or when the beneficiary remarries or predeceases the insured.

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