Court Conditions Alimony Payments on the Sale of the Parties’ Marital Residence

Following trial in a recent dissolution of marriage action pending in the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Stamford, the Court awarded the wife alimony, but conditioned payments on the sale of the marital residence.  The parties were married in 1973 and were the parents of two children, both of whom were over the age of twenty-three at the time of trial.  The husband was most recently employed by a family run business he formed in the early 1990’s, until he quit on January 1, 2012.  The business provided a relatively lucrative income for the husband as well as other family members.  In fact, the Court found that the family earned over $300,000 from the business annually.  The husband was also receiving income from Social Security, real estate brokerage commissions, two boat slip rentals and a golf school he owned in Florida.  The Court ultimately found that the husband had a then present earning capacity of $95,000.

During the marriage, the wife was employed by a local school system, and earned $28,000 at the high end.  However, she ultimately left that job at the husband’s request.  With respect to assets, the family owned a home in Stamford as well as a vacation property in Key Largo, Florida and a rental property in Stamford, Connecticut.  They also owned an interest in a recreational club in Florida valued at approximately $200,000, and maintained modest retirement accounts.

As to the breakdown of the marriage, the Court did not expressly assign fault to either party.  Nonetheless, it did note that more recently the husband treated the wife in a self-centered, callous manner, and in fact sought other relationships during the pendency of the case.  The Court further noted that the husband’s absolute control over the finances created a virtual “Rubik’s Cube” making it difficult for the court to ascertain an accurate picture of the parties’ financial circumstances.  The Court found that his arbitrary use and manipulation of the family income and assets created a great deal of confusion and could very well lead to economic disaster for both parties.

Based on its findings, the Court concluded that permanent lifetime periodic alimony would be appropriate.  However, it also awarded the wife exclusive use and possession of the martial residence until its sale, with the husband responsible for the carrying costs associated therewith.  Therefore, although the Court ultimately awarded the wife lifetime periodic alimony in the amount of $2,750 per month, it conditioned the husband’s payment thereof upon the sale of the marital residence.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact managing partner Joseph Maya.  He can be reached by telephone in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com.