TEICH v. TEICH

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Lois TEICH, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Bertram TEICH, Defendant-Respondent.

Decided: June 12, 1997

Before SULLIVAN, J.P., and ROSENBERGER, WALLACH, RUBIN and ANDRIAS, JJ. Rita W. Warner, for Plaintiff-Appellant. Steven M. Silpe, for Defendant-Respondent.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Eileen Bransten, J.), entered February 19, 1997, which, in an action for divorce, denied plaintiff's motion to compel defendant to file joint income tax returns for the years 1993 and 1994 in place of the separate returns already filed, or, in the alternative, to cooperate in the filing of amendments to the parties' joint returns for the years 1990 and 1991, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

 Both forms of relief sought by plaintiff are contrary to Federal tax law, which gives each spouse unqualified freedom to decide whether or not to file a joint return, and beyond the trial court's equitable powers (Leftwich v. Leftwich, 442 A.2d 139, 143-144 [D.C. Ct.App.]).   We note, however, that any adverse financial consequences of defendant's refusal to sign the joint and/or amended returns proffered by plaintiff can be taken into account in distributing the marital property (see, id., at 145-146;  Matter of Butler, 346 N.W.2d 45, 47 [Iowa, Ct. App.];  Wadlow v. Wadlow, 200 N.J.Super. 372, 491 A.2d 757, 761-762).   Also, the question of defendant's entitlement to a recovery for the unauthorized sales of the art works must be addressed at that time.   We have considered plaintiff's other contentions and find them to be without merit.

MEMORANDUM DECISION.