Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gonzalez v. Green case brief

Gonzalez v. Green case brief summary
831 N.Y.S.2d 856 (2006)

Plaintiff younger man commenced an "Action For A Divorce" against defendant wealthy man. The wealthy man moved for summary judgment to dismiss the action. He also sought a declaration that, since the parties were never married, an agreement was void ab initio and all property transferred by the wealthy man to the younger man had to be returned. The younger man cross-moved for summary judgment dismissing the counterclaims.

The couple, whose primary residence was New York, took part in a marriage ceremony to each other in Massachusetts. They returned to New York. Their relationship deteriorated and they separated. The wealthy man's attorney drafted a "separation agreement" which both parties executed in the manner in which a deed should be executed. The agreement, which contained mutual releases, was fully performed upon its execution by the parties.


  • The court held the parties' marriage was void under the laws of either New York or Massachusetts. 
  • However, the agreement was not void ab initio as against public policy because the parties were a same sex couple. 
  • The younger man delivered tangible property of more than sufficient value to the wealthy man in consideration of his entering into the agreement. 
  • Nor was the agreement voidable under the doctrine of mutual mistake. 
  • The law of New York recognized the validity of the cohabiting parties' right to settle their affairs by agreement.

The "Action For A Divorce" was dismissed for failure to state a cause of action. In all other respects, the wealthy man's motion was denied. The younger man's cross-motion to dismiss the counterclaims for rescission of the agreement was granted.

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