Posts tagged with "divorce lawyers in ct"

Court Awards Primary Residence to Father in Consolidated DCF Case

DCF Case Decision

In a DCF case decision involving both a juvenile case and a proceeding in the family division of the Superior Court, a father was awarded primary residence of his daughter following a substantial change in circumstances.  The Department of Children and Families initially became involved in the matter when it filed a neglect petition alleging that the child was being denied proper care and attention, or alternatively, was being permitted to live under conditions injurious to her well-being.

Shortly thereafter, a finding of neglect entered.  Prior to the commencement of the DCF proceedings, however, the father filed a motion to modify custody and visitation in the Superior Court.  The matters were consolidated and a dispositional hearing was held in the juvenile court.

Motion to Modify and Disposition of the Neglect Proceeding

In its decision, the court first noted the standards governing the father’s motion to modify and the disposition of the neglect proceeding, respectively.  First, it explained that after an adjudication of neglect, a court may: 1) commit the child to the Commissioner of DCF; 2) vest guardianship in a third party; or 3) permit the parent to retain custody with or without protective supervision.  In determining the disposition portion of the neglect proceedings, the court must decide which of the custody alternatives is in the child’s best interest.  With respect to the father’s motion to modify, the court noted that a party seeking modification of an existing court order must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances to warrant the change requested.

Court Findings

From a factual standpoint, the court found that the mother and father were never married.  Although the father had an extensive criminal background, and had been incarcerated for domestic violence directed at the child’s mother, he was later released on probation.  His new residence was approved by the Office of Adult Probation, and was also approved as an appropriate placement for the child.

At the time of the hearing, the father was employed, had no pending criminal charges and was compliant with his conditions of probation.  Immediately prior to the filing of the neglect petition, the mother was arrested on numerous narcotics charges, which were still pending at the time of the hearing.  After her arrest, both she and the father allowed the child to reside with the maternal grandmother during the mother’s access time.  At the time of the hearing, the mother was living in a sober house.

Review of Evidence

After reviewing the evidence, and presumably based on the father’s release from prison (and the mother’s subsequent arrest), the court found that a substantial change in circumstances existed warranting a modification to the then existing custody and visitation orders.  Simultaneously addressing its obligation to select a custody arrangement for the child pursuant to the neglect proceedings, the court further found that it was in the child’s best interest to live with the father on a primary basis, subject to a six month period of protective supervision.

Should you have any questions regarding DCF matters, or family matters in general, please feel free to contact managing partner, Attorney Joseph C. Maya.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Court Enters 10 Year Alimony Award in Wilton Divorce

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.

Case History

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.

Case Outcome

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.

Should you have any questions relating to alimony or divorce proceedings, please feel free to contact managing partner, Attorney Joseph C. Maya by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Relocation: A Concise Summary of Connecticut Law

Child Relocation

If you are reading this article, chances are you are interested in relocating with your child, or, would like to prevent your spouse, or ex-spouse, from relocating with your child.  The following is meant to serve as a concise explanation of the laws which govern relocation cases in the State of Connecticut.  As the analysis employed during divorce proceedings is quite different than the analysis utilized in the post-judgment context, the laws governing each scenario are addressed separately.

Divorce Proceedings

During divorce proceedings, parties often consider moving a considerable distance apart.  Unfortunately, even in cases where parents might agree to a joint custody arrangement, that distance may have a significant impact on the feasibility of regular visitation, typically impeding upon the non-custodial parent’s access to his or her children.

When determining whether relocation is appropriate during a divorce proceeding, or upon final dissolution, the Court will base its decision on whether the move is in the “best interests” of the child or children.  In determining the “best interests” of children the Court will consider one or more of the factors specifically enumerated in Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-56(c).

Connecticut General Statutes Section

Although the following is not an exhaustive list, those factors include:

1) the temperament and developmental needs of the child;

2) the ability of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;

3) any relevant information obtained from the child, including the informed preferences of the child;

4) the wishes of the child’s parents as to custody;

5) the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the best interests of the child;

6) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a continuing parent-child relationship;

7) any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents’ dispute;

8 ) the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;

9) the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community environments;

10) the stability of the child’s existing or proposed residences;

11) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

12) the child’s cultural background; and

13) the effect on the child of domestic violence which has occurred between the parents, or between a parent and another individual or the child.

Notably, the Court is not required to assign any specific weight to the factors it considers.

Connecticut Courts

Connecticut Courts have held that the issues which arise in cases initiated after a divorce is obtained (a post-judgment action) are considerably different than those present during divorce proceedings.  In recognition of those differences, the State of Connecticut enacted Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-56d, which governs relocation specifically in the post-judgment context.

According to Section 46b-56d, where relocation would have a significant impact on an existing parenting plan, the relocating parent bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that

1) the relocation is for a legitimate purpose;

2) the proposed relocation is reasonable in light of such purpose; and

3) the relocation is in the best interest of the child (see analysis above).

In making its determination in the post-judgment context, the Court must consider,

1) each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation;

2) the quality of the relationships between the child and each parent;

3) the impact of the relocation on the quantity and the quality of the child’s future contact with the non-relocating parent;

4) the degree to which the relocating parent’s and the child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the relocation; and

5) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements.

Contact Us

Attorney Attorney Joseph C. Maya practices out of Maya Murphy’s Westport office.  He welcomes inquiries and can be reached by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com.  Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Earning Capacity: Alimony and the Invisible Paycheck

Income Variability

Things change.  Incomes rise and fall, jobs come and go, marriages last…and some of them do not.  In an economy where the only constant is unpredictability, a theme of increasing frequency in divorce litigation is the difficulty in calculating appropriate alimony or child support figures when earning capacity is taken into account.  When a breadwinner has fallen on hard times – late in a marriage, during a divorce, or immediately thereafter – and is constrained to take a cut in income, should support figures be based on what he or she now earns, or should they instead be based upon what could be earned given that person’s experience, education, credentials, and marketability?

Trial Courts in Connecticut

Trial courts in Connecticut often utilize the concept of “earning capacity,” which is “meant to be a flexible concept, particularly suited to cases where the designation of a precise monetary value of earned income is inappropriate.”  Weinstein v. Weinstein, 87 Conn. App. 699, 710 (2005).

The Connecticut Supreme Court has defined earning capacity as “not an amount which a person can theoretically earn, nor is it confined to actual income, but rather it is an amount which a person can realistically be expected to earn considering such things as his vocational skills, employability, age and health.”    Weinstein, 280 Conn. 764 (2007).  The Appellate Court has noted that “it is particularly appropriate to base a financial award on earning capacity where there is evidence that the payor has voluntarily quit or avoided obtaining employment in his field.”  Hart v. Hart, 19 Conn. App. 91, 95 (1989).

Appellate Court: Tanzman v. Meurer

In a decision, our Appellate Court reaffirmed the assignment of an earning capacity to a payor of alimony (who sought to reduce his obligation after claiming to receive decreased taxable earnings at his new job), and further underscored the weight an earning capacity determination can have on the primary wage earner of a marriage.  In upholding the decision of the trial court which denied a modification of alimony, the Appellate Court pointed out that the plaintiff husband had “failed to provide us with any statute, case law, or rule of practice that requires the trial court to specify an exact earning capacity when calculating an alimony and child support award.”

Tanzman v. Meurer, AC 30723, 128 Conn. App. 405 (released May 23, 2011).  In other words, under current case law in our state, a judge in a divorce proceeding may assign one party with an earning capacity – and award alimony and/or child support based on that notion of the payor’s expectation of earnings – but there is no requirement whatsoever that requires the Court to precisely specify the monetary value it assigned based on the evidence presented at trial.

Post-Judgement Motions

This soft spot in our jurisprudence can and does cause additional complications in post-judgment motions to modify support orders, when one party seeks to demonstrate a “substantial change in circumstances” as required by Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-86 et seq.

Indeed, when an original alimony award was predicated on earning capacity and not on actual income, and the earning capacity was further left undefined by a trial court, a litigant faces the daunting task of demonstrating a “substantial change” to a non-quantified number.  Instead, a moving party is charged with relying upon extrinsic and collateral evidence to demonstrate that his or her earning capacity – however slippery and undefined – has substantially changed within the meaning of the statute and applicable case law.

As a potential payor of alimony in a divorce proceeding, one should be aware that a judge might not simply glance at a tax return or even at a paystub, but may instead base his or her decision on a comprehensive history of the parties’ earnings, education, employability, and economic resilience.  Moreover, even after that award is determined, any litigant would be best served to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney before attempting to modify the award based on decreased income or a change in employment.

Any questions about this posting or confidential inquiries concerning the subject matter may be directed to Attorney Joseph C. Maya at jmaya@mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100.

Court Issues $20,000 Monthly Alimony Award in Stamford Divorce

Cunningham v. Cunningham

In Cunningham v. Cunningham, Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford, Docket No. FA094017494S (March 9, 2011, Shay, J.), the plaintiff wife and defendant husband were married for approximately twenty-two years, and had two minor children.  At the time of the divorce, one child was enrolled in college and the other was in high school. The parties both lived in Stamford, Connecticut and went to court to negotiate an alimony agreement.

Spousal History

The husband was fifty-five years old and in good health.  He held both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Southern Methodist University, and had been fully employed since graduation. Commencing in 1984, and throughout the marriage, the husband was employed as a principal in a consulting business.  The Court noted that he was required to retire at the end of the fiscal year in which he turned 62. The Court also noted that the husband received a regular draw, as well as quarterly distributions.

At the time of the divorce, the wife was fifty-four years old, and although she experienced some health issues during the marriage, she was also in good health.  The wife was a graduate of Stone Hill College, and throughout the course of the marriage, was employed as a flight attendant. She worked a full schedule for most of the marriage, with the exception of two maternity leaves of ten months each, and a furlough of one and one-half years following September 11, 2001.

Court Decision

The Court found that during the course of the marriage, the parties enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle, which included extensive travel, yard maintenance, and in-home help, and amassed a substantial estate including an investment account having an approximate value of $1,460,000.00, as well as a deferred income account and several retirement vehicles. The Court further found that based upon the parties’ financial affidavits the husband’s net monthly income was $62,629.00, and that the wife’s net monthly income was $1,574.51.

With respect to alimony, the Court ordered that commencing February 1, 2011 and monthly thereafter, the husband shall pay to the wife the sum of $20,000.00 as and for periodic alimony, until the death of either party, the remarriage of the wife, the entry into a civil union by the wife, or January 31, 2018, whichever shall sooner occur. The Court specifically designated the term of alimony as non-modifiable, and granted the wife a safe harbor with respect to her future earnings up to $36,000 per year.

If you have any questions relating to alimony or divorce proceedings, please feel free to contact managing partner, Attorney Joseph C. Maya by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Court Awards Wife Alimony in Addition to a Portion of Husband’s Business

Trial Court: Dissolution Actions

It is well recognized that in dissolution actions, a trial court may exercise broad discretion when dividing property and awarding alimony, as long as it considers all relevant statutory criteria.  For many reasons, one of which is that a trial judge has the benefit of observing witnesses first hand, an appellate court will not disturb a trial court’s decision unless there has been a clear abuse of discretion.

This of course is a very heavy burden for an appellant to satisfy, but the standard makes sense, and is not insurmountable.  That being said, the appellate process presents its own challenges and to the extent an appellate court may exercise its own discretion to arrive at a desired result, it can be relatively unpredictable.

Appellate Decision

In an appellate decision, the Court addressed whether it was appropriate for a trial judge to award a wife alimony in addition to a portion of the husband’s business, which provided his sole stream of income.  In McRae v. McRae, 129 Conn. App. 171 (2011), the defendant owned a software production company, while the wife owned a decorative painting business.  The main issue of contention at trial concerned the value of the husband’s company.

Both parties utilized business valuation experts who introduced testimony on the issue, and after hearing evidence, the Court relied on the husband’s expert.  Interestingly, the Court also made findings as to the parties’ respective earning capacities, as opposed to their actual earnings.  The Court ultimately divided the marital property equally, including the husband’s business as part of the marital estate.  In addition, the Court awarded the wife periodic alimony for a term of ten years.

Defendant Appeal

On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court’s decision to take his business into account in both the property division scheme and the award of alimony constitutes improper double dipping, a generally recognized concept.  The Appellate Court affirmed the Trial Court’s decision on two main grounds.  First, it held that although C.G.S.A. § 46b-81 allows a trial court to consider its property division order when fashioning an alimony award, nothing in the statutory framework forbids a court from awarding periodic alimony to one spouse when the court has made an equitable distribution of the other spouse’s closely held business.

The Court also held that the trial court specifically based the alimony award on the parties’ earning capacities- not the husband’s business- which it is permitted to do.  This case further exemplifies not only the broad discretion a trial court is permitted to exercise in the context of a dissolution action, but also illustrates the degree of deference the Appellate Court will afford a trial judge when reviewing the underlying decision.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial cases, please do not hesitate to contact our office.  Managing partner, Attorney Joseph C. Maya welcomes inquiries regarding matrimonial matters and can be reached in the firm’s Westport office by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Courts Permitted to Award Time Limited Alimony for Rehabilitative Purposes

Determining Alimony Award

In determining whether alimony should be awarded- as well as the duration and amount of the award- there are several statutory criteria that must be considered.  Although these well-settled factors provide courts and litigants with some direction, there is no precise formula, and judges are afforded significant discretion is fashioning support awards.  In a recent appellate decision, the Court pointed out that in exercising such discretion, trial judges may consider whether time limited alimony is appropriate merely for rehabilitative purposes in cases where a future event will enable an ex-spouse to become self-sufficient.

Marmo v. Marmo

In Marmo v. Marmo, 131 Conn. App. 43 (2011), the Connecticut Appellate Court explained that although the traditional purpose of alimony is to meet one’s continuing duty to support, courts have begun to limit the duration of alimony awards to encourage the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient.  The underlying policy is that limiting awards may provide an incentive for the spouse receiving support to use diligence in procuring training or skills necessary to attain self-sufficiency.

The Court further explained, “[a]nother valid purpose for time limited alimony is to provide interim support until a future event occurs that makes such support less necessary or unnecessary.”  Id.  For example, interim support may be appropriate until a minor child reaches the age of majority.  Other examples might include bond maturation, trust disbursement, or mortgage maturation. Id.  One caveat to this rule is that there must be sufficient evidence to support a trial court’s finding as to the duration established. Id.

Marmo, Supra

In Marmo, supra, the parties were married for approximately seventeen years.  However, the trial court found that the wife had experience working as a computer department manager of a third party administrator.  Although she left that position due to her pregnancy, at the time of trial she was employed by a local board of education working with computers part-time.  Importantly, the wife testified that she was in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree to enable her to obtain a teaching certificate.

She expected to complete her degree in December, 2009 and obtain her certification two years later, at which time she planned to teach computer technology in elementary or middle school.  The wife further testified that she intended to sell the marital residence when the children were out of high school.  Without necessarily explaining its rationale, the trial court awarded the wife alimony in the amount of $825.00 per week for a period of four years.

The Appellate Court

The Appellate Court ultimately held that the trial court’s alimony award was appropriate.  In support of its decision, the Court noted the foregoing evidence, ultimately concluding that the time limited award met the purpose of helping the wife rehabilitate and become self-sufficient.  Essentially, the Court awarded her support until she was able regain full time employment, which also coincided, in terms of timing, with the parties’ children graduating from high school.

Should you have any questions regarding alimony in the context of a divorce proceeding or post-judgment modification, please do not hesitate to contact Maya Murphy, P.C.  Attorney Joseph C. Maya welcomes inquires and can be reached in the Westport office by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Court Awards Wife Alimony in the Amount of $6,000 Per Month

Superior Court: Klages v. Klages

In Klages v. Klages, a case involving alimony, Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, Docket No. FV104034594S, the plaintiff wife and defendant husband were married in Pennsylvania on October 9, 1993.  At the time of trial, they had four children ranging in age from six to eleven.

Husband’s Employment

The husband had been employed in the insurance industry throughout the marriage.  During the two year period immediately preceding the divorce, he owned a limited liability company and his own insurance company.   The Court found that his earning capacity increased steadily over the course of the marriage, and that at the time of trial, it was approximately $200,000.00 per year, including earned income, commissions and other unearned income.  The Court noted that the husband’s tax returns showed his gross income to be $180,427.00 for 2010.

Case History

The wife’s work history was brief and occurred mostly before the parties’ children were born.  The Court found that she was primarily responsible for the childrearing duties within the home.  At the time of trial, she had recently returned to school and was working toward achieving her associate’s degree.  During the divorce proceedings, the wife was living in the marital home which had a value of approximately $600,000.00, but was encumbered with a mortgage in the amount of approximately $675,000.00.

Court Order

After considering all relevant statutory criteria, the Court ordered the husband to pay the wife unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $6,000.00 per month for a period of ten years from the date of dissolution, followed by $3,000.00 per month for an additional period of five years.  The Court further ordered that in the event the marital home was sold, said amounts would increase to $7,500.00 and $3,500.00 for the applicable time period.  The Court designated the term of alimony as non-modifiable, and further held that the wife could earn up to $35,000.00 per year without triggering a downward modification of support.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions relating to alimony, or divorce proceedings generally, please feel free to contact managing partner, Attorney Joseph C. Maya by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation.

Alimony: Court Orders Father to Pay College Tuition Up to Full UCONN Cap

Connecticut Appellate Court: Alimony Agreement

A Connecticut Appellate Court decision emphasizes the importance of formulating clear and unambiguous language when crafting an alimony agreement regarding the payment of college expenses under Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56.  In Loso v. Loso, 132 Conn. App. 257 (2011), the parties entered into a post-judgment agreement pursuant to which the defendant is obligated “to pay for one-half the cost of [his daughter’s] college educational expenses for a four year degree net of scholarships or grants subject to the limitation that said cost shall not exceed the tuition for a full-time residential student at UCONN-Storrs.”

Plaintiff Filed Motion

The Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for contempt, alleging that the defendant was obligated to pay one-half the cost of their daughter’s fall 2010 semester at Sacred Heart University, which included charges for a meal plan, health insurance, recreation and athletic fees, housing and tuition.  The defendant contended that his obligation was capped at one-half the tuition for a full-time residential student at UCONN Storrs.

After reviewing the plain language of the agreement, however, the Court held that the defendant was indeed responsible for one-half of the daughter’s educational expenses- not just tuition- but further held that his obligation was capped at the full amount of tuition for a student at UCONN Storrs, not one-half.  It appears this issue could have been avoided altogether had the defendant specified that he would pay one-half of the college expenses up to one-half the amount charged by the University of Connecticut for a full-time residential student.

Case Importance

Once again, this case illustrates the importance of drafting clear and unambiguous language when crafting a provision regarding the payment of college expenses to ensure that the agreement accurately reflects the parties’ intentions.  This is particularly true when a child will be attending an institution which costs more than the University of Connecticut, as a party could be ordered to pay well in excess of the expected amount.

Should you have any questions regarding payment of college expenses in the context of a post-judgment matrimonial case, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Managing partner, Attorney Joseph Maya welcomes inquiries regarding matrimonial matters and can be reached in the firm’s Westport office by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Contact the firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Request for Attorneys’ Fees Denied: Court finds that wife “cannot be rewarded for her own financial indiscretions.”

Superior Court: Judicial District of Fairfield

The Superior Court in the Judicial District of Fairfield (Owens, JTR) issued a decision following a contested post-judgment divorce hearing in which an ex-wife, of whom had financial indiscretions, sought counsel fees from her ex-husband in an amount of “not less than $50,000.00.”

The parties, who had been divorced since shortly after their divorce trial in the spring of 2010, have been engaged in protracted litigation – including an appeal by the wife to the Appellate Court – over numerous issues relating to the judgment of dissolution and monies claimed to be owed by the husband to the wife.  The parties each filed three motions which were heard at one time by the Superior Court in November of 2011.  Among other allegations, the wife claimed that the husband – who is gainfully employed – should have to pay for her appellate and post-judgment counsel fees, which are in excess of $110,000.00 and rapidly increasing.

In completely denying each and every one of the wife’s post-judgment motions, including a motion for contempt and the motion for counsel fees, the Honorable Howard T. Owens, Jr. held that “the Defendant’s monthly shortfall in liquidity is not the Plaintiff’s responsibility.  She makes her own financial decisions and has received what the Court has determined was just and appropriate under all the circumstances.

Court Decision

The Court stated that it considered not just the parties’ present financial status (the wife claims to have no assets available with which to pay counsel fees), but also considered the voluntary depletion of her net worth since the date of trial, noting the considerable alimony she had received and had apparently spent, as well as her elective living expenses and the disposition of her other assets.  The Court opined that the wife “cannot be rewarded for her own financial indiscretions.

Finding her request for counsel fees to be “inequitable in the extreme” given the testimony presented at the evidentiary hearing, the Court denied the wife’s request for counsel fees and left her responsible for her own costs of this ongoing litigation.

See Von Kohorn v. Von Kohorn, Docket No. FA-09-4027456-S, Superior Court, J.D. of Fairfield at Bridgeport (Owens, JTR), decided February 6, 2012.  Counsel for Plaintiff: MAYA MURPHY, P.C. by H. Daniel Murphy, Esq.

Should you have questions regarding visitation matters, the department of children and families, or divorce matters in general, contact managing partner Joseph C. Maya at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com for a free initial consultation.