In a post-judgment divorce action, a physician was successful in obtaining a downward modification to his alimony obligation due to a substantial decrease in his income.  The parties were divorced back in 2007, and pursuant to the judgment of dissolution, the husband was required to pay alimony to the wife in the amount of $6,000 per month for a period of eleven months, followed by $5,000 per month thereafter.  The amount of the alimony obligation was modifiable upon a substantial change in circumstances in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-86.

Presumably upon a motion by the wife, the husband’s obligation was subsequently modified to $5,666.66 per month, or $68,000.00 per year, in November of 2007.  The defendant’s wife filed a second motion to modify in 2010.  At that time, the husband’s income had increased from $4,038.00 gross per week at the time of judgment to $5,356.00 gross per week at the time of the hearing on the wife’s motion.

The Court’s Decision

By way of a motion dated October 26, 2011, the husband sought a modification of his own.  Following a hearing on said motion, the court found that the husband originally worked for a hospital in Connecticut, but voluntarily left after experiencing complications with his eye, which impacted his ability to meet the demands of the position.  The defendant was unemployed for a period of time before accepting a new position in New York which paid less than his former employer, but which also provided accommodations for his eye complications.

While in between jobs, the plaintiff unilaterally reduced his alimony payments to $3,000 per month.  Evidently accepting the husband’s medical condition as justification for voluntarily leaving his employer, and excusing what may have otherwise constituted a voluntary reduction in income, the court found that the change in the husband’s earnings did in fact constitute a substantial change in circumstances, and reduced his alimony obligation back to $5,000 per month.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please feel free to contact Attorney Joseph Maya.  He may be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100, or by e-mail at