Posts tagged with "married"

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.

Not So Fast: Connecticut Courts Consider Length of Marriage – Not Courtship or Cohabitation – When Determining Awards in Divorce

At the outset of a divorce proceeding, many clients will ask what they might expect from a court – or in a settlement agreement – in connection with alimony or the division of marital assets. One of many statutory factors a court may consider in fashioning support orders or property distribution is the length of the parties’ marriage. See C.G.S. § 46b-81, 82. With increasing frequency over the past several decades, however, many parties may enter a divorce proceeding with a significant period of time before the marriage during which the parties lived together as unmarried people – sharing home expenses, purchasing assets together, and accumulating marital wealth (or debts). The common expectation is that a judge would consider not just the length of the parties’ marriage, but also the length of time they lived together as unmarried people when determining what awards would be appropriate in a divorce. The law, however, takes a sharply different view.

Like many other states, Connecticut does not recognize common-law marriage as a matter of public policy. Indeed, the law “has been construed to require the marriage contract to be entered into before authorized persons and with certain formalities which the state has prescribed.” Hames v. Hames, 163 Conn. 593 (1972). Although two persons might cohabit and conduct themselves as a married couple, the law of this state neither grants to nor imposes upon them marital status. McAnerney v. McAnerney, 165 Conn. 277 (1973). Cohabitation by unmarried individuals does not in and of itself create any legal or support obligations. Boland v. Catalano, 202 Conn. 333 (1987).

Given the clear distinction in the common law between marriage and cohabitation, and in awarding greater rights and protections to people who make the formal legal commitment of marriage, the Supreme Court has determined that it would be incongruous for a divorce court, when entertaining financial orders, to take into account a period of premarital cohabitation as an additional equitable consideration. Loughlin v. Loughlin, 280 Conn. 632 (2006).

In other words, neither party in a divorce action may seek additional protections, rights, or awards from the court based simply on the length of time the parties had lived together prior to their marriage. Nevertheless, the Loughlin holding has left a window of opportunity open – however narrow – which might allow a court to consider “events” that occurred during the period of cohabitation as “indirectly” bearing on other statutory criteria for awards of support and equitable distribution (such as the health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, and employability of the parties). Only a court’s strict consideration of premarital cohabitation as part of the “length of marriage” in a dissolution action is improper and prohibited by law.

In the event that your marriage was preceded by a significant period of premarital cohabitation, you should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to determine your rights in a divorce action. Any questions about this posting or confidential inquiries concerning the subject matter may be directed to Attorney H. Daniel Murphy at hdmurphy@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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Alimony Alert- September 2, 2011

On July, 15, 2011, following trial in a Stamford based dissolution action, Judge Wenzel ordered the defendant husband to pay alimony to the wife as follows: from August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, the sum of $9,500 per month; from January 1, 2012 through December 1, 2012, the sum of $8,000 per month together with 30% of his gross income between $200,000 and $350,000; from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014 (or the closing for the sale of the marital residence, whichever occurs first) the sum of $6,000.00 per month together with 20% of his gross income between $200,000 and $300,000; and from January 1, 2015 until his 65th birthday, the sum of $4,000 a month.

The Court found that the parties were married for approximately twenty-two (22) years. Before marrying, they both lived and worked in New York City. They moved to Connecticut around the time they got married and bought a house in Stamford. In the late 1990s, after having three children, one of which was diagnosed with autism, they moved to New Canaan, where they purchased a new home.

The wife accused the husband of having multiple affairs, although the court noted she was unable to support her suspicions. The wife also alleged that over the course of the marriage the husband spent long hours at his business, traveling frequently and staying at work late into the night, leaving her with all the responsibilities of running the household and caring for their special needs child.

The Husband denied the affairs and alleged that the wife had an extra-marital relationship of her own. The wife concealed the physical component of the relationship for several years, but finally admitted to it immediately before her deposition. The Court ultimately found the causes of the divorce to be attributable to the wife, and that her accusations were made solely for tactical reasons. Nevertheless, the court held that its assessment of the cause of the breakdown of the marriage could not play a significant role in fashioning its alimony award. Instead, it considered the length of the marriage and the fact that there had been great hardship and stress during the last half of the parties’ relationship.

Alimony Alerts are prepared by Michael D. DeMeola of Maya Murphy, P.C.
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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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Alimony Alert- September 9, 2011

On July, 11, 2011, following trial in a Stamford based dissolution action, Judge Wenzel awarded the defendant wife both periodic and lump sum alimony. Pursuant to Judge Wenzel’s orders, the plaintiff husband is obligated to pay to his now ex-wife $3,000.00 per month for a period of three years (from August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2014). With respect to lump sum alimony, the plaintiff must pay his ex-wife $100,000.00 in four equal installments of $25,000.00. The payments are to be made on August 15, 2011, December 15, 2011, April 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012.

The Court found that the parties were married on May 30, 2007 in Westport, Connecticut. The husband is an attorney, and when the parties married, earned over $300,000.00 per year. In 2008, he received a total of $537,000.00 in income which included a substantial severance package. Since 2008 he had been working forty hours per week as a temporary attorney earning approximately $75.00 per hour. The defendant wife was employed in the advertising industry for 31 years, but was terminated just before the parties’ marriage. During the marriage, however, she worked in publishing and advertising. The court did not make a finding as to the defendant’s actual earnings or earning capacity except to the extent that it noted she earned far less than the plaintiff. At the time of trial, the defendant was unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation in the amount of $2,150.00 per month. Each party has two children from previous marriages, but none from their marriage to one another.

In fashioning its alimony award, the Court noted that it considered the factors set forth in Connecticut General Statutes §46b-82. Although it did not state which of those factors it relied upon, it appears the Court did not assign fault to either party. The Court did note, however, that although the defendant has an earning potential, it is far more limited than that of the plaintiff, and she has far fewer resources to rely upon. The Court further stated that its periodic alimony award is meant to help the defendant rehabilitate both in terms of her job skills as well as her physical and emotional condition.

Alimony Alerts are prepared by Michael D. DeMeola of Maya Murphy, P.C.

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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 Enters 10 Year Alimony Award in Wilton Divorce

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 a parenting plan.

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.

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.

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 Michael D. DeMeola, Esq. by telephone 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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Court Enters Fifteen Year Unallocated Alimony and Support Award in Recent Dissolution of Marriage Action

In a relatively recent dissolution of marriage action pending in the Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, the Court awarded the wife unallocated alimony and support in the amount of $6,000 per month for a period of ten years, followed by $3,000 per month for a period of five years. Married in 1993, the parties were the parents of four minor children. The husband was employed in the insurance industry throughout the marriage, and during the two years leading up to the parties’ dissolution, owned his own insurance company. The court found that the husband’s earning capacity increased steadily throughout the marriage to approximately $200,000 at the time of trial. This included earned income, commissions and other unearned income.

The wife’s work history was brief, and occurred mostly before the parties’ had children. Though she was primarily responsible for raising the children, at the time of trial, she had returned to school and was in the process of obtaining an associate’s degree. The parties’ primary asset was the marital home, which, according to the Court, had a value of approximately $600,000.

Based on its findings, the Court ordered the husband to pay to the wife the sum of $6,000 as unallocated alimony and child support for a period of ten years, followed by $3,000 per month for a period of five years. The Court limited the duration of alimony, which was otherwise non-modifiable, upon the wife’s remarriage, the death of either party, or the wife’s cohabitation. The Court also ordered that if the marital home was sold, the husband’s alimony obligation would increase to $7,500 per month for the first ten years and $3,750 for the following five years.

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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In Divorce Actions, “Double Dipping” Analysis Applies to Intellectual Property

In a relatively recent decision, the Connecticut Appellate Court held that a trial court erred in treating intellectual property as a marital asset subject to division while also awarding the wife a percentage of the income derived therefrom. The parties in this particular case were married in 1992 and were the parents of two children. In the underlying divorce action, the trial court found that although the parties were struggling financially, the husband had published a book from which he was experiencing financial gain. After trial, the court ordered the husband to pay the wife periodic alimony and child support. The court also ordered the husband to pay the wife thirty percent of the value of his unsold books, as well as thirty percent of all income received from the sale of the books.

The husband appealed, arguing that the court was not permitted to treat intellectual property as a martial asset subject to division while also ordering that he pay to the wife a portion of the income generated therefrom.

The Appellate Court agreed. In furtherance of its decision, the Court noted that proceeds flowing from an interest in intellectual property constitute marital property subject to division as long as the proceeds are neither indefinite nor speculative. The Court further explained that the consideration of a marital asset in both the property distribution and alimony award does not constitute double dipping unless any portion of the asset assigned to the nonemployee spouse was counted in determining the employee spouse’s resources for purposes of alimony. Lynch v. Lynch, 135 Conn. App. 40 (2011). Because the husband had a contractual right to receive royalties, the Court found that the value of the unsold books was in fact a marital asset subject to division. However, the Court also determined that by dividing the value of the husband’s unsold books and then ordering him to pay income from royalties on those whose value was already allocated to the wife, the lower court essentially engaged in impermissible “double dipping.” Thus, although the lower court was permitted to assign a portion of the value of the books to the wife, it was not permitted to grant her a portion of the royalties as well.

Should you have any questions regarding the division of marital assets, or divorce matters 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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In Recent Divorce Action, Court Awards Wife 30% of Husband’s Income Over $85,000

In a recent divorce action, the Superior Court of Waterbury rendered a decision awarding a wife $250.00 per week in alimony, plus thirty percent of the husband’s income over $85,000.00. The parties were married in 2004, and were the parents of two minor children. At the time of trial the wife was forty-one years of age, was in generally good health, and possessed both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. During the marriage she had been employed as an administrator, and was currently earning just under $50,000.00 per year based on a thirty-two hour work week.

The Husband was forty-three years of age, was in generally good health, and possessed a bachelor’s degree. He had been employed as an administrator for a relocation company for several years. Although his annual salary was $85,000.00 per year, at various times he also received a bonus.

With respect the cause of the breakdown of the marriage, the wife claimed that the parties disagreed about household responsibilities and child care, that the husband was not responsive to her needs, and that she was unappreciated. The wife also testified that she was devastated upon learning of the husband’s affair. The husband, on the other hand, claimed that parties lacked communication for at least two years, that he was not appreciated for his contributions, and that the wife was overly tied to her family. The court found the wife’s claims to be more credible, although it appears it ultimately did not assign fault to either party.

In its written memorandum of decision, the court ordered the husband to pay the wife child support in the amount of $260.00 per week, as well as periodic alimony of $250.00 per week for a period of five years. As additional periodic alimony, the court ordered the husband to pay the wife 30% of any gross earned income received in excess of $85,000.00 per year.

Should you have any questions regarding alimony, or divorce matters 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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