Brush v. Brush
In Brush v. Brush, Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford, Docket No. FA104019594S (Dec. 15, 2011, Shay, J.), the plaintiff wife and the defendant husband were married for approximately 21 years, and were the parents of two minor children. During the divorce, the children- ages ten and fifteen- resided in the marital home in Wilton, Connecticut pursuant to a bird nesting arrangement which the parties agreed upon as part of an alimony and parenting plan.
At the time of the divorce, the wife was 47 years old, and suffered from various medical conditions, from chronic Lyme Disease to depression and anxiety. She held a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Design and Resource Management, and prior to the parties’ marriage, worked in the clothing industry in Connecticut, New York, Maine and Massachusetts.
The Court found that the wife was a very talented designer and seamstress who at one point during the marriage developed and fabricated her own line of children’s clothing. After two years, however, the wife closed her business when it became apparent that it would not be profitable. At the time of the divorce, she was a full-time homemaker.
The husband was 46 years old, and held a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology as well as a Masters degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. He described his health as “good,” although he told the court that he took medication for a hereditary thyroid condition as well as for high blood pressure.
He also suffered from occasional stress, but indicated that none of the conditions adversely affected his ability to work. The Court noted that the husband worked for a variety of corporations in Kansas, Texas, Ohio and New York. At the time of the divorce proceedings, he was Chief Human Resources Officer and his annual base salary was $242,000.00 plus an annual bonus, an automobile allowance, and certain non-cash benefits including stock options.
Factors of Marriage Dissolution
With respect to the cause of the breakdown of the marriage, the parties cited various factors including different parenting styles, lack of intimacy, loss of interest in each other, personality conflicts and different approaches to personal finances. The Court ultimately found that both parties contributed to the breakdown of their relationship. Regarding finances, the Court found that the husband’s net income was $4,403.00 per week, and the wife had no income.
With respect to support, the Court ordered that commencing the first day of the first month following the husband’s vacation of the marital home, but no later than March 1, 2012, and monthly thereafter, the husband shall pay to the wife 35% of his gross cash compensation from employment as and for unallocated, periodic alimony and child support, until the death of either party, the remarriage of the wife, the entry into a civil union by the wife, or December 31, 2022, whichever shall sooner occur.
The Court designated the term of alimony as non-modifiable, and granted the wife a safe harbor up to $40,000 per year. However, the Court also capped the wife’s alimony at 35% of the husband’s income up to $400,000 per year.
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