In Post-Judgment Matrimonial Action, Court Denies Motion to Modify Life Insurance Policy

Marriage Dissolution

In a post-judgment dissolution of marriage action pending in the Judicial District of Stamford, the Court denied an ex-husband’s motion to modify his life insurance policy, even though it modified, and drastically reduced, his alimony obligation.  By way of background, the parties’ marriage was dissolved on November 5, 1999 after they entered into a separation agreement.  Pursuant to that agreement, the Husband was obligated to maintain a life insurance policy with a face amount of $250,000 naming his ex-wife as an irrevocable beneficiary thereof.  At that point, the ex-husband’s net monthly income was $9,829.51.

At the time of the post-judgment hearing, the ex-husband was sixty-six years of age, retired and in declining health.  His net monthly income was $1,357.17.  The Court found that the reduction in his income and decline in his financial condition since the date of dissolution constituted a substantial change in circumstances, and reduced his alimony obligation from $6,270.00 per month to $2,500.00 per month.  The ex-husband requested that the Court reduce his life insurance obligation accordingly.

The Court’s Decision

In its decision, the Court noted that although a life insurance policy is ordinarily considered property subject to distribution, and thus is ordinarily non-modifiable, where it is awarded as security for alimony, it is modifiable upon a substantial change in circumstances. Nevertheless, the Court denied the ex-husband’s motion, finding that even the policy of $250,000.00 did not provide adequate security given the ex-wife’s life expectancy as compared to the new alimony Order of $2,500.00 per month.

The Court also found that the ex-husband may no longer be insurable, and, therefore, if the alimony was increased or the modification reversed upon Appellate review, the ex-husband would be in a potentially impossible position of having to acquire a new life insurance policy.

By: Joseph Maya, Esq.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. 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.

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