Posts tagged with "divorced"

Court Permits Mother to Modify Alimony and Child Support Despite Clear Language Precluding Her from Doing So

In a recent post judgment divorce action, the Court allowed the ex-wife to modify alimony and child support, despite language in the parties’ separation agreement precluding them from doing so. The parties, who were divorced in 2008, were the parents of one minor child. According to the terms of their separation agreement, the husband was obligated to pay to the wife unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $225 per week for a period of five years. The parties agreed that at the end of the five year term, they would calculate child support in accordance with the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines. The agreement contained language specifically designating the term and amount of the unallocated order as non-modifiable.

Just six months after the parties’ divorce, the child changed residences and began living with the father. At that point, the parties entered into a stipulation pursuant to which the father’s child support obligation to the wife ceased, and he paid her $120 per week in alimony. The parties further stipulated that the terms and conditions of the original unallocated order were to remain in full force and effect. In or about early 2012, the child changed residences a second time back to the mother’s home. Accordingly, the mother sought an increase in the prior unallocated alimony and support order alleging a substantial change in circumstances; however, the father objected.

Granting the mother’s motion to modify, the Court explained that a minor child’s right to parental support has an independent character, separate and apart from the terms of a support obligation set out in a judgment of dissolution. Although parents may enter into a contract allocating child support payments between them, they may not by contract override the state’s authority and duty to ensure the welfare of children. Parties are expressly authorized by statute to make unallocated periodic alimony and child support nonmodifiable, but the Court must retain the authority to modify such orders where the needs of the children warrant such modification. Ultimately adopting the parties’ previous stipulation with respect to alimony, the Court ordered the father to pay to the mother child support in the amount of $190 per week, for a total, unallocated award of $310 per week.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Michael D. DeMeola, Esq. He can be reached by telephone in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100, or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.
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Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut 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. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.

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Assessing the Best Interests of the Children When Considering a Request for Relocation

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

When a court considers a parent’s wish to relocate the children’s residence and a parenting plan will be affected, it looks to the statutory requirements of General Statutes § 46b-56d: whether the move is for a legitimate purpose, the location is legitimate in light of this purpose, and relocation is in the best interests of the children. Subsection (b) of the statute outlines five non-exclusive factors a court will consider when answering the third part of its inquiry:

  • The reasons each party opposes or seeks relocation.
  • The quality of the relationship each party has with the child.
  • The impact of relocation on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the non-relocating parent.
  • The degree to which the life of the relocating parent and child is enhanced socially, economically, and educationally as a result of the relocation.
  • Whether it is feasible that the relationship between the non-relocating parent and child will be preserved.

Even if a party establishes that the purpose for and location of the move is legitimate, their request to relocate will be denied if the court finds that it is not in the best interests of the children to do so. All three statutory criteria must be satisfied.

Five years ago, the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford ruled on a matter involving one parent’s request to relocate with her minor children to Vermont. That case, Frostmann v. Frostmann, 2007 Conn. Super. 3411, is particularly notable in light of the court’s careful, detailed analysis of whether the move would be in the best interests of the children.

Following dissolution of her marriage and the establishment of a parenting plan, the mother wished to relocate with her two minor children from her residence in Old Greenwich to Vermont. She explained that she grew up in Vermont and had an affinity for rural life, in stark contrast to the culture in Greenwich. The mother sought to develop farmland acreage in hopes of becoming financially independent, and even had initial engineering plans drawn up. The values and lifestyle in Vermont would not only make her happier, but also would be more suitable for her children and their needs. The mother provided a parenting plan schedule that afforded more time to the father than in the present plan, and consistently kept the father up-to-date on all major and many minor events in their children’s lives.

The father staunchly opposed the move, arguing that because the “dailiness” of involvement with his children would be disrupted, his relationship with them would be adversely affected. In addition, the father personally knew what it was like to be relocated with a parent and the attendant pain inflicted, and did not want his children to suffer the same.

The court readily found that the mother had legitimate purposes for the move, and the location was appropriate in light of these purposes. In their written opinion, the court extensively covers each of the five factors considered in assessing the best interests of the children. It first credited the reasons the mother sought relocation and the father’s relocations for opposition. The court then determined that the children had strong relationships with each parent, and that the relocation would not prove destructive to the children’s relationship with the father. It pointed to the mother’s extensive efforts to keep the father involved and informed, as well as daily phone calls when the children do not see their father.

The court admitted that the distance from the father’s home in Greenwich to Vermont was significant, just shy of 200 miles. However, a schedule could be imposed to ensure that the quantity of contact between the father and his children would remain unaffected. Considering the fourth factor, there was little dispute that the mother would be enhanced emotionally and potentially financially with the move. The children were happy with life in Vermont, and the based on testimony before the court, it believed that the children would thrive there. Finally, the court noted that it was highly feasible that the relationship between the father and his children would remain intact, referencing the mother’s proposed, and generous, parenting schedule. Her conduct proved her to be seeking to enhance the relationship between the father and children.

Whether advancing or defending a motion seeking custody, visitation, and child support, a divorced parent is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or JMaya@mayalaw.com.
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Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut 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. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.

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Court Denies Husband’s Motion to Modify Alimony Despite His Loss of Employment

In a recent post judgment divorce action, the Court denied a husband’s motion to modify alimony despite his loss of employment. The parties were divorced in 2008, and pursuant to the final judgment of dissolution, the husband was ordered to pay his wife alimony in the amount of $6,000.00 per month. The husband worked in the financial industry throughout the course of the marriage and at the time of the divorce was earning roughly $300,000.00 per year.

In 2011, the husband’s position was eliminated. Although he was laid off, the employer provided the husband with a severance package which included, among other things, $319,820.00 in salary. The husband’s total income for 2011 was over $800,000.00, which included employment income and other settlement monies associated with his severance. The husband’s severance agreement contained a one year non-competition clause.

Following a hearing, the court found that the husband had made efforts to find new employment, and start his own consulting firm. The court further found that the husband maintained contacts and kept up with industry and market trends, and noted that the one year non-competition clause likely impacted his ability to secure a new job.

Nevertheless, the wife effectively demonstrated that despite the husband’s loss of employment, his lifestyle remained unchanged. In fact, with the exception of one noted modification, the husband’s discretionary expenses remained exactly the same. Furthermore, the husband vacationed in both Europe and Florida, and maintained ties to various social associations within his community. Noting that lifestyle and personal expenses may serve as the basis for imputing income, the court found that the husband clearly was not concerned about his economic future, and, thus, denied his motion for modification.

Should you have any questions regarding post judgment financial modifications, or divorce actions in general, please feel free to contact 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 family law firm in Westport Connecticut 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. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.

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