Posts tagged with "child support"

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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Court Awards Wife Alimony for a Period of Ten Years with Safe Harbor for Husband Up to $250,000 Annually

In a recent dissolution of marriage action pending in the Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, the Court awarded the wife unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $1,000 per week.  The parties were married in 1999 and were the parents of two children, both of whom were minors at the time of trial.  The Husband was thirty-eight years of age, had a degree in engineering, and worked for a family business owned by his father.  The wife was forty years of age.  She did not have a college degree and worked only seven hours per week.  The parties both alleged that the other caused the breakdown of the marriage by abusing drugs and alcohol, although the Court questioned the wife’s credibility on that topic.  The wife also claimed that the husband expressed he wanted to end the marriage because he had met another woman.  Despite the parties’ allegations, however, the Court found them equally at fault for the breakdown of the relationship.

At trial, the wife also claimed that the husband underreported his income on his financial affidavit, although the Court noted that she presented no evidence to support the allegation.  The Court ultimately reviewed the parties’ joint tax returns and found that the husband’s gross income at the time of trial was $140,000 per year, exclusive of any bonus and that the wife was earning $100 gross per week.   Based on those figures, the Court determined that the presumptive child support award under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines was $392 per week.  However, at the parties’ request, the Court entered an unallocated alimony and child support order, awarding the wife $1,000 per week for a period of ten years, with the full amount deductible by the husband and taxable to the wife.  The Court further ordered the husband to pay the wife 50% of his bonus each year within ten days of his receipt of the same.  The Court specified that said sum shall also be paid to the wife as unallocated alimony and child support, and therefore was also deductible by the Husband and taxable to the wife.  The Court allowed the husband a safer harbor up to $250,000 per year, and the wife a safe harbor up to $10,000 per year, thereby precluding future modifications unless and until their respective incomes exceeded the aforementioned amounts.

If you have questions regarding alimony or any family law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

Court Rules it Has Authority to Award Child Support and Alimony Even if Parties are Living Together

In a dissolution action currently pending in the Stamford Superior Court, Judge Tierney recently ruled on what appears to be an issue of first impression regarding pendente lite child support and alimony.  In Peterson v. Peterson, Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford, Docket No. FSTFA094015636S (Sept. 21, 2011, Tierney, J.), the parties were married on May 23, 1985 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They are both in their early fifties and are both in good health.  The wife is a Program Administrator earning $3,287 per month, and the husband is a lawyer who, at one time, earned approximately $500,000 annually, plus bonuses.

Despite the fact that the parties continued residing in the marital home during the pendency of the action, the Wife requested unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $6,500.00 per month.  The court framed the principal issue as follows: “Does the Superior Court have the authority to enter pendente lite alimony and child support orders when the parties are residing together?”

Generally speaking, in determining pendente lite alimony and child support, one must consider the factors set forth in Connecticut General Statutes §§ 46b-83 and 46b-84.  With respect to pendente lite child support, those factors include the respective abilities of the parents to provide such maintenance, as well as the age, health, station, occupation, earning capacity, amount and sources of income, estate, vocational skills and employability of each of the parents, and the age, health, station, occupation, educational status and expectation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of the child.  With respect to pendente lite alimony, the court must consider the length of the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties, and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent’s securing employment.

After setting forth case law precedent and relevant legislative developments, the Court in Peterson found that §§ 46b-83 and 46b-84 are silent as to whether the parties must live separate and apart in order for the Court to enter pendente lite alimony and child support orders.  Indeed, as the Court explained, “Nowhere in these statutes does there exist any requirement that the parties live separate and apart as a condition of a pendente lite alimony order.”  Id.  The court further found that older decisions citing “abandoned” and “living apart” as conditions of pendente lite alimony have been rejected by more recent decisions that do not mention either phrase.  Thus, Judge Tierney ultimately held that there is no current statutory or case law authority to support the proposition that parties must be living apart in order for the Court to enter pendente lite alimony or child support, and, therefore, the Superior Court has the authority to enter such orders even when the two parties continue to reside together.

If you have any questions regarding child support, or any family law matter please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

Your Divorce Checklist

Getting a divorce, for many people, is the most challenging life event they have experienced. Not only does divorce tend to be both financially and emotionally taxing, the legalities of getting a divorce can be overwhelming.

Divorce can leave you feeling as though almost all aspects of your life are uncertain. In the face of such uncertainties, it is especially important to know what questions to ask your divorce attorney. We compiled a list of topics for you to consider when contemplating divorce.

Property and Finances

  • Spousal support: periodic, lump sum, waiver
  • Tax implications of divorce
  • Division of marital assets
  • Who, if anyone, will remain in the marital home?
  • Selling the marital home
  • Division of other real property
  • Vehicles: Leased, owned
  • Personal property: Furniture, jewelry, etc.
  • Business assets
  • Bank accounts: Checking, savings, kids account
  • Retirement benefits: Pensions, profit shares, deferred compensation, retirement funds
  • Debts: Loans, credit cards, taxes, healthcare, etc.
  • Medical insurance
  • Life insurance

Children

  • Child support
  • Child custody: legal and physical
  • Parenting time with non-custodial parent
  • Children’s healthcare costs
  • Children’s dental costs
  • Cost of primary education
  • Cost of secondary education
  • Beneficiaries of life insurance

Other Important issues

  • Domestic violence
  • Temporary restraining orders
  • The intersection of criminal law and divorce
  • Child abuse
  • Addressing mental health
  • Addressing substance abuse
  • Changing your marital name

 

If you have any questions about divorce in Connecticut, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.

If the Father of My Child Did Not Want the Child, Does he Still have Rights in Connecticut?

If a man is named the father on a child’s birth certificate, he will have legal rights and responsibilities to the child.  This may be good or bad in any given situation.  If you wish to seek child support from your child’s father then it is beneficial to name him on the child’s birth certificate.  If you do not seek child support and you want to protect your child from their father, then you may consider not naming him on the child’s birth certificate.  If he decides to exercise any rights to the child, he will have to request a paternity test and first prove that the child is his.  It would be in the best interest of you and your child to see a family attorney who has experience handling custody issues and can educate you on the best way to proceed to protect your child in the future.

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

How is a High-End Divorce Different than a Regular Divorce?

In many ways high-end divorces and lower asset divorces are very similar. Basically, a divorce involves child custody, property division, and alimony. But, there are various factors that complicate a high-end divorce. When spouses have a high net worth, own a business, or own significant assets, property division becomes much more difficult and complex. Often, individuals with large assets own various investment properties, residences, and/or corporations which hold that property. Unlike with a lower income divorce, these assets are much more difficult to divide appropriately and distribute.

It is also important to mention that with many couples, one spouse has significant assets tied to his or her career or passed down from his or her family. In many cases, a complete financial analysis may require that these assets be considered in arriving to an equitable settlement. Our attorneys make sure that a full and complete inventory of all assets of the clients is prepared, including cash, checking accounts, savings and money-market accounts, Children’s Bank Accounts, retirement accounts, non-retirement investment accounts, deferred pay-raises or bonuses, etc.

Unfortunately, in high-end divorces assets have tendency to disappear once the divorce proceedings have commenced, and it is vital that an attorney working with a high net worth client have knowledge of finance and tax laws in addition to legal knowledge in order to be able to discover these hidden assets, present a full and complete financial picture of the couple and most importantly, address concerns such as future payments of alimony, “maintenance” of the lifestyle a non-working spouse is accustomed to, disparity of income and others. Our own experience illustrates that financial planning is a means of reaching a more equitable divorce settlement. In essence, analyzing the marriage as if it were a financial contract when it comes to division of property makes it possible to achieve best possible results for our clients.

To reduce stress levels and to ensure that your assets are protected, an attorney of Maya Murphy will provide you with the following services for your high-end divorce:

  • Valuation of your business: Before dividing up assets, the full and fair value of the business must be determined. A high-end divorce attorney will work with business valuation experts to evaluate accounts receivable, debt, and business assets.
  • Investigation of hidden assets: In a high-end divorce, there is the potential for one of the parties to hide assets. An investigation is often needed to determine if any stocks, mutual funds, insurance policies, bonds, and unreported income have been held back.
  • Negotiation of alimony agreement: When one spouse is financially dependent on the other, he or she may require help securing a fair alimony agreement for life after the divorce.
  • Division of stock options: Many high-income families in Pennsylvania have vested stock options that will have to be divided up during the divorce. It is necessary not only to divide up the stock options but also to determine who will pay taxes on the stocks.

These are just some of the many services that one of Maya Murphy’s high-end divorce attorneys will provide you with to help complete your divorce efficiently and in your favor. If you are in the middle of a divorce, or even if you are contemplating a divorce, it is critical to have a fair and accurate assessment of your assets. Contact an experienced high-end divorce attorney who will work diligently to protect your rights and best interests. Call Maya Murphy today at 203-222-MAYA or email at Ask@mayalaw.com.

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How is a High-End Divorce Different than a Regular Divorce?

In many ways high-end divorces and lower asset divorces are very similar. Basically, a divorce involves child custody, property division, and alimony. But, there are various factors that complicate a high-end divorce. When spouses have a high net worth, own a business, or own significant assets, property division becomes much more difficult and complex. Often, individuals with large assets own various investment properties, residences, and/or corporations which hold that property. Unlike with a lower income divorce, these assets are much more difficult to divide appropriately and distribute.

It is also important to mention that with many couples, one spouse has significant assets tied to his or her career or passed down from his or her family. In many cases, a complete financial analysis may require that these assets be considered in arriving to an equitable settlement. Our attorneys make sure that a full and complete inventory of all assets of the clients is prepared, including cash, checking accounts, savings and money-market accounts, Children’s Bank Accounts, retirement accounts, non-retirement investment accounts, deferred pay-raises or bonuses, etc.

Unfortunately, in high-end divorces assets have tendency to disappear once the divorce proceedings have commenced, and it is vital that an attorney working with a high net worth client have knowledge of finance and tax laws in addition to legal knowledge in order to be able to discover these hidden assets, present a full and complete financial picture of the couple and most importantly, address concerns such as future payments of alimony, “maintenance” of the lifestyle a non-working spouse is accustomed to, disparity of income and others. Our own experience illustrates that financial planning is a means of reaching a more equitable divorce settlement. In essence, analyzing the marriage as if it were a financial contract when it comes to division of property makes it possible to achieve best possible results for our clients.

To reduce stress levels and to ensure that your assets are protected, an attorney of Maya Murphy will provide you with the following services for your high-end divorce:

  • Valuation of your business: Before dividing up assets, the full and fair value of the business must be determined. A high-end divorce attorney will work with business valuation experts to evaluate accounts receivable, debt, and business assets.
  • Investigation of hidden assets: In a high-end divorce, there is the potential for one of the parties to hide assets. An investigation is often needed to determine if any stocks, mutual funds, insurance policies, bonds, and unreported income have been held back.
  • Negotiation of alimony agreement: When one spouse is financially dependent on the other, he or she may require help securing a fair alimony agreement for life after the divorce.
  • Division of stock options: Many high-income families in Pennsylvania have vested stock options that will have to be divided up during the divorce. It is necessary not only to divide up the stock options but also to determine who will pay taxes on the stocks.

These are just some of the many services that one of Maya Murphy’s high-end divorce attorneys will provide you with to help complete your divorce efficiently and in your favor. If you are in the middle of a divorce, or even if you are contemplating a divorce, it is critical to have a fair and accurate assessment of your assets. Contact an experienced high-end divorce attorney who will work diligently to protect your rights and best interests. Call Maya Murphy today at 203-222-MAYA or email at Ask@mayalaw.com.

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How Do I Get Child Support in Connecticut?

To receive monetary child support you must have a court order.  This court order establishes the need for monetary support as well as for health insurance and child care.  A court must approve all agreements for child support, even those that are voluntarily entered into by a non-custodial parent.  Support orders are calculated by the courts by using mandatory guidelines to ensure fair and consistent child support orders.  These guidelines are state regulations which consider the combined income of the mother and father and the number of children to set a reasonable child support amount.  The child support amount is subject to change, as it is based on income and the circumstances of each parent.

If you need to obtain a court order for child support, it would be in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney to represent your case in court.  You may also apply for child support services that are offered by the state.  An experienced attorney will educate you on all of your options in this situation.

If you have any questions regarding family law 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 Child Support in Connecticut?

To receive monetary child support you must have a court order.  This court order establishes the need for monetary support as well as for health insurance and child care.  A court must approve all agreements for child support, even those that are voluntarily entered into by a non-custodial parent.  Support orders are calculated by the courts by using mandatory guidelines to ensure fair and consistent child support orders.  These guidelines are state regulations which consider the combined income of the mother and father and the number of children to set a reasonable child support amount.  The child support amount is subject to change, as it is based on income and the circumstances of each parent.

If you need to obtain a court order for child support, it would be in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney to represent your case in court.  You may also apply for child support services that are offered by the state.  An experienced attorney will educate you on all of your options in this situation.

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

How Long Can I Be Incarcerated for Contempt of Court in a Divorce Case for Failure to Pay Support?

Incarceration depends on what the contempt involves and the specific facts of your case.  Every state has a strong interest in ensuring that child support is paid and may impose strict punishments for failure to comply with a court order for child support.  If a judge finds contempt for separate issues, such as failure to pay child support and failure to pay alimony, then the judge may impose jail time for each instance until you comply with the support.  If you cannot comply with the support order because your finances have changes since the order was issued, you may modify the order.

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