The Second Department determined a constructive trust was properly imposed on Florida property in this divorce action. The wife, who sought the constructive trust, alleged that marital funds were used to buy and improve the property and the property was placed in her husband’s father’s (Boris’s) name for tax purposes:
” The elements of a constructive trust are (1) a fiduciary or confidential relationship; (2) an express or implied promise; (3) a transfer in reliance on the promise; and (4) unjust enrichment'” … . “[A]s these elements serve only as a guideline, a constructive trust may still be imposed even if all of the elements are not established” … . “Thus, although the elements of a constructive trust must be proved by clear and convincing evidence … , [t]he constructive trust doctrine is given broad scope to respond to all human implications of a transaction in order to give expression to the conscience of equity and to satisfy the demands of justice'” … .
Here, evidence adduced at the hearing showed that the wife was related to the husband and Boris through marriage and that Boris allowed the Florida apartment to be used solely by the husband and wife as their vacation home for many years. Therefore, the first element for the imposition of a constructive trust was satisfied … . The wife also satisfied the second element by demonstrating the existence of an implied promise that [husband’s father] was holding title to the Florida apartment for purposes convenient to the husband and that the apartment belonged to the husband and wife … . She also demonstrated that, in reliance on that implied promise, marital funds were used to purchase the apartment and to make renovations costing more than $150,000 … . Furthermore, the wife demonstrated that a constructive trust was necessary ” to satisfy the demands of justice'” … . Kaprov v Stalinsky, 2016 NY Slip Op 08509, 2nd Dept 12-21-16
FAMILY LAW (EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION, CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST PROPERLY IMPOSED UPON PROPERTY PURCHASED AND IMPROVED WITH MARITAL FUNDS BUT TITLED TO ANOTHER)/EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION (CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST PROPERLY IMPOSED UPON PROPERTY PURCHASED AND IMPROVED WITH MARITAL FUNDS BUT TITLED TO ANOTHER)/CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST (EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION, CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST PROPERLY IMPOSED UPON PROPERTY PURCHASED AND IMPROVED WITH MARITAL FUNDS BUT TITLED TO ANOTHER)