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Gonzalez v. Green

Supreme Court of New York
831 N.Y.S.2d 856 (2006)


Facts

Mr. Gonzalez (plaintiff) and Mr. Green (defendant) were a same-sex couple who began living together in 2001. They resided in New York. Mr. Green was considerably wealthier than Mr. Gonzalez. Over the course of their relationship, he gave Mr. Gonzalez expensive gifts including cars and a ski house. In February 2005, the couple traveled to Massachusetts to marry then returned to New York. Massachusetts had recently legalized marriage between same-sex couples but only those who resided in Massachusetts. The marriage, according to Mr. Green, was principally symbolic in nature. The couple continued to file individual tax returns and did not hold any property as a married couple. In the fall of 2005, the relationship fell apart. The men executed an agreement, drafted by Mr. Green’s lawyer, that divided property obtained by them during their cohabitation. As part of the agreement, Mr. Gonzalez transferred title of the ski house to Mr. Green, and Mr. Green made a one-time payment to Mr. Gonzalez of $780,000. In January 2006, Mr. Gonzalez filed for a divorce in New York on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. Mr. Green moved for summary judgment by reason of the fact that the parties had never legally married. He sought to rescind their financial agreement on the same basis. The trial court considered the parties’ claims.

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Holding and Reasoning (Gangel-Jacob, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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