Posts tagged with "asset"

Wife Found in Contempt of Court’s “Automatic Orders”

In a relatively recent decision rendered in a dissolution of marriage action, a wife was found in contempt for depriving her husband of information regarding the parties’ two minor children in violation of the court’s “automatic orders.”  In this particular case, the parties were married 1991, and were the parents of two children.  At the time of trial the husband was forty-three years old and in generally good health.  He had an associate’s degree and worked for a supply company earning approximately $51,000 annually.  The wife was also forty-three years old and in generally good health.  Although she stayed home to care for the family for a better part of the marriage, in 1999 she began working as an independent contractor selling kitchen products.  Later, she worked for a local board of education, and at the time of trial, was employed with a local newspaper earning roughly $20,000, plus commission, annually.

During the divorce proceedings, the husband filed a motion for contempt claiming the wife violated the court’s automatic orders in that she left the marital residence with the children and refused to disclose their location.  In reviewing the merits of the husband’s motion, the court noted that in a civil contempt proceeding, the movant must show by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of a clear and unambiguous court order, and willful noncompliance with that order.  According to the court’s “automatic orders,” entered upon the commencement of every divorce action, neither party is permitted to remove children from the State of Connecticut without prior written consent of the other parent.  Additionally, a party vacating the marital residence with minor children must notify the other parent of the move, and must provide the other parent of an address where the relocated party can be contacted.  Finally, where parents live separate and apart during a divorce proceeding, pursuant to the “automatic orders,” they must assist their children in having contact with both parents.

In this particular case, the court found that because the wife was served in hand with a notice of automatic orders, she clearly knew she had an obligation to inform the husband in writing of any relocation.  The court found that she also knew she had a duty to assist her children in having contact with their father.  Nevertheless, the wife willfully removed the children from the home, and kept their address from the husband absent a valid reason for doing so.  As a result, the husband did not know where the children were living until the day of trial.  The court further found that the wife willfully kept the children from having contact with their father in violation of the court’s clear and unambiguous automatic orders.

Should you have any questions regarding automatic court orders, or divorce proceedings in general, please feel free to contact Attorney Michael D. DeMeola, Esq.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.
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Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation. Divorce is difficult, education is power. Call today.

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How Do I Get My Spouse Out of the Family Home While We Are Going Through a Divorce in Connecticut?

In the majority of divorces, the parties are living in a home (referred to as the “marital residence”) that they jointly own at the time the divorce proceeding is commenced.  The marital residence is frequently an asset that is subject to equitable division by the court at the conclusion of the divorce proceeding.  While the divorce is pending, neither party may deny the other access to the marital residence absent a court order granting one of them exclusive possession of it.  Such an order can be obtained by filing a motion for exclusive possession.  Courts will consider a number of different factors in deciding whether to grant exclusive possession, the most significant being recent or present physical violence or threats of violence.

If you have any questions related to sexual harassment and discrimination in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

How Do I Get My Spouse Out of the Family Home While We Are Going Through a Divorce in Connecticut?

In the majority of divorces, the parties are living in a home (referred to as the “marital residence”) that they jointly own at the time the divorce proceeding is commenced.  The marital residence is frequently an asset that is subject to equitable division by the court at the conclusion of the divorce proceeding.  While the divorce is pending, neither party may deny the other access to the marital residence absent a court order granting one of them exclusive possession of it.  Such an order can be obtained by filing a motion for exclusive possession.  Courts will consider a number of different factors in deciding whether to grant exclusive possession, the most significant being recent or present physical violence or threats of violence.

If you have any questions related to sexual harassment and discrimination in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

How Is Marital Property Distributed in a Divorce Proceeding in Connecticut?

Marital property is any asset – from real estate to savings accounts to home furnishings – that was purchased or obtained before or during the marriage that remains the property of either party of the marriage at the time of the divorce.  In Connecticut, courts have the authority to divide marital property and will consider a number of factors to arrive at a fair division of these assets.  In many cases, courts will divide the assets evenly, particularly where the parties have been married for a long time.  However, the court may, in its discretion, award more assets to one party.

The factors considered in making this determination are: (1) the age of the parties; (2) the health of the parties; (3) the station of the parties; (4) the parties’ respective occupations; (5) the amount and sources of the parties’ income; (6) the party’s liabilities; (7) any relevant special needs; (8) each party’s future earnings capacity and prospect for the acquisition of capital assets and income; and (9) the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of the assets.

If you have any questions related to divorce proceedings in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

How Is Marital Property Distributed in a Divorce Proceeding in Connecticut?

Marital property is any asset – from real estate to savings accounts to home furnishings – that was purchased or obtained before or during the marriage that remains the property of either party of the marriage at the time of the divorce.  In Connecticut, courts have the authority to divide marital property and will consider a number of factors to arrive at a fair division of these assets.  In many cases, courts will divide the assets evenly, particularly where the parties have been married for a long time.  However, the court may, in its discretion, award more assets to one party.

The factors considered in making this determination are: (1) the age of the parties; (2) the health of the parties; (3) the station of the parties; (4) the parties’ respective occupations; (5) the amount and sources of the parties’ income; (6) the party’s liabilities; (7) any relevant special needs; (8) each party’s future earnings capacity and prospect for the acquisition of capital assets and income; and (9) the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of the assets.

If you have any questions related to divorce proceedings in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Assets Protected From Creditors in Connecticut

            In today’s economy more and more people find themselves having a hard time paying the bills and avoiding late payments.  Still others have a problem with creditors chasing them for unpaid debts.  Now more than ever it is important for you to know what assets are protected from creditors and what are not.     

            Connecticut law provides some protection from creditors in a situation where your income or assets are subject to a court judgment or lien.  You can protect yourself in a variety of ways by planning ahead and consulting with a professional financial planner and an attorney.   Taking out liability insurance or setting up a corporate entity or trust for your property are examples of how you can shield your assets from future creditors.  However, there are some individual assets that are automatically protected from creditors.  Here is brief summary of the law in Connecticut: 

            A.            Wages    

            Once a creditor obtains a judgment against you, it can apply for an execution against your wages.  See Connecticut General Statutes, Section 52-361a.  Connecticut law does provide for some protection in this situation.   No more than twenty-five percent of an individual’s weekly disposable earnings may be subject to a wage execution.  The portion of disposable earnings subject to the wage execution is withheld and applied to the amount of the judgment.    In some cases, the maximum amount that can be withheld may be less depending upon the ratio between the individual’s disposable earnings and the hourly minimum wage in effect at the time of the execution. 

            B.             Retirement Plans

            Generally, retirement plans are exempt from claims by creditors.  Both IRAs and 401ks are protected assets pursuant to Connecticut General Statues, Section 52-321a. 

            C.             Personal Property

            Connecticut law provides a list of exempt personal property that creditors cannot claim an interest in pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes, Section 52-352b.  The list of property includes basics necessities such as apparel, bedding, foodstuffs, household furniture and appliances.  Items necessary for a person’s occupation or profession such as tools, books, instruments, farm animals and livestock feed are also considered exempt property.  Wedding and engagement rings are not subject to creditor claims as well.

            D.             Insurance and Government Assistance Payments

            Some insurance and government assistance payments are exempt from creditors under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 52-352b.   Health and disability insurance payments are exempt as are Workers’ compensation, Social Security, veterans and unemployment benefits.  In addition, under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 38a-453, creditors of an insured cannot seek payment from a life insurance policy beneficiary under most circumstances. 

            E.             Child Support and Alimony Payments

            Any court approved child support payments received by a debtor are exempt and protected from creditors.  Alimony payments, to the extent that wages are exempt from creditor claims, are also protected.  See Connecticut General Statutes, Sections 52-352b & 52-361a.

            F.             Real Estate

            Your homestead or personal residence is exempt from creditor claims up to the value of seventy-five thousand dollars.  If a creditor has a money judgment arising out of hospital services, then the value of the exemption increases to one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars.  The exemption is calculated based upon the fair market value of the equity in the property taking into account any statutory or consensual liens on the property.  See Connecticut General Statutes, Section 52-352b.

            There is no such exemption in place for commercial real estate or rental properties.   

            G.             Motor Vehicles

            Only one motor vehicle is exempt from creditor claims up to the value of one thousand five hundred dollars.  The exemption is calculated by estimating the fair market value of the motor vehicle and taking into account any relevant liens or security interests.  See Connecticut General Statutes, Section 52-352b.

           H.              Bank Accounts

         A creditor can enforce a judgment by way of a bank execution.  However, the same exemptions apply to bank accounts as they do to government assistance, insurance, alimony and child support payments as outlined above.  Therefore, you have the opportunity to challenge a bank execution based on these exemptions and prevent a creditor from taking money out of your account.   In addition, you can claim a general exemption not to exceed one thousand dollars.

            In conclusion, Connecticut law prevents creditors from seizing all of your income, property, possessions and savings pursuant to a judgment or lien.  However, the law does not prevent a debt collector from jeopardizing your livelihood and financial wellbeing.  You best bet is to limit individual liability and plan ahead to avoid a creditor claim in the first place.  Consulting with a professional financial planner and an attorney is recommended.