Posts tagged with "matrimonial"

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 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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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 Dissolution of Marriage Action, Court Orders Both an Allocated and Unallocated Alimony Award

In a recent dissolution of marriage action, the Court ordered a husband to pay to his wife unallocated alimony and child support for a period of two and one-half years, followed by allocated alimony and child support for a period of six years. The parties originally met in 1998 and were married for 13 years. They were the parents of two children, both of whom were minors at the time of trial. The parties blamed each other for the breakdown of the marriage, with the wife accusing the husband of engaging in verbally and physically abusive behavior, and the husband accusing the wife of being unfaithful. Despite the parties’ accusations, the Court ultimately found that neither was at greater fault for the marital breakdown.

At the time of trial, the wife was forty-one years of age. She had suffered from asthma for approximately three years and also had heart spasms, though neither condition prevented her from working. During the marriage, she earned between $30,000 and $40,000 per year until the birth of the parties’ second child. According to the wife, at that point, the husband asked her to cut back so she could care for the children. Based on her earnings history, the Court found the wife had an earning capacity of $40,000 per year.

The husband was fifty-two years of age and generally in good health. At one point during the marriage he earned approximately $100,000 per year as a car salesman. However, at the time of trial he was working as a general manager at a local dealership earning $211,120 gross annually, or $4,060 gross per week.

Based on its findings, the Court awarded the wife unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $1,000 per week for a period of two and one-half years, followed by periodic alimony in the amount of $250 per week for a period of six years, and child support in the amount of $500 per week until the parties’ children graduate from high school, or attain the age of 19, whichever occurs first. The Court designated both the unallocated award and the allocated periodic alimony as non-modifiable as to duration, and also allowed the wife a safe harbor, permitting her to earn up to $40,000 per year before the husband could seek a downward modification to his alimony obligation.

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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Court Modifies Alimony Based on Cohabitation

In a recent post judgment divorce action, the Court found that the ex-wife was cohabitating with another person, and, therefore, modified the ex-husband’s alimony obligation. Pursuant to the parties’ separation agreement, the husband was obligated to pay to the wife alimony in the amount of $1,300 per month for a period of eight years. The parties agreed that the amount of said alimony could later be modified, however, the duration could not unless the plaintiff remarried. Approximately six and one-half years following the parties’ divorce, the ex-husband filed a motion to modify, claiming that the parties’ financial circumstances had changed substantially and also that the ex-wife was cohabitating with another person as defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-86(b).

In reaching its decision, the Court explained that pursuant to General Statutes §46b-86(b), alimony may be modified or terminated upon a showing that the party receiving the periodic alimony is living with another person causing a change of financial circumstances. Where a Court finds that a party is living with another individual, it may modify, reduce, suspend or terminate the payment of alimony if there is a corresponding change in financial circumstances. In other words, in cases involving the cohabitation statute, the threshold predicate for the modification of alimony is lowered to situations where the court finds cohabitation and a change in circumstances so as to alter the needs of the party. Thus, the higher burden required by §46b-86(a), requiring a “substantial change” in circumstances is lowered when there is cohabitation. Once the Court finds both cohabitation and a change in the financial needs of the party receiving alimony, it must then apply the factors enumerated in Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-82 to determine the appropriate amount of support, if any. Those criteria include the needs and financial resources of each party as well as the causes for the dissolution, the age, health, station, occupation, employability and amount and source of income of the parties.

After hearing evidence, the Court found that the ex-wife was indeed living with another man, and, further, that her income and expenses changed due to significant support she was receiving from him in excess of the alimony she was receiving from her ex-husband. In fact, the ex-wife’s income was approximately 10% higher, not taking into consideration regular gifts and payment of living expenses provided by her new partner. Notably, the Court also pointed out that the ex-wife voluntarily moved to Florida to live with her new interest, leaving viable employment in the State of Connecticut and delaying access to her social security benefits. With respect to the ex-husband’s financial circumstances, the Court found that his income was lower than at the time of dissolution, his assets had been depleted and his weekly payments substantially exceeded his income. Based on those findings, the Court modified the wife’s alimony to $1.00 per year until the husband’s obligation terminated under the terms of the original judgment of dissolution or was otherwise subsequently modified by order of the court.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney 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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Father Still Required to Reimburse Mother 1/2 College Expenses Despite Tuition Credit for Working at University

In a recent post judgment divorce action, the Connecticut Appellate Court ruled that a father was not entitled to reduce his contribution toward college tuition even though the mother received a significant credit due to her employment with the child’s university. The parties were the parents of two children, and were divorced in 2001 by way of a stipulated judgment of dissolution. Their separation agreement provided that they would set aside a joint college fund for the benefit of both children, and that they would pay at least one-half of the children’s college expenses as would be required at a state college or university.

When the parties’ youngest child began college, the mother relocated and served on the school’s faculty. As a result, the child received a significant tuition credit. However, at that time the parties did not communicate with one another, and the child did not communicate with the father. In fact, the father was completely unaware that the child even began college. Nevertheless, the mother filed a motion for contempt, claiming that the father failed to contribute toward the cost of the child’s education. Although the trial court did not find the father in contempt, it did order him to pay one-half of the son’s college expenses, including credits to the mother for the tuition she was reimbursed.

The father appealed claiming that the trial court erred in ordering him to reimburse the mother for one-half of their son’s first year tuition, including any amount credited back to her, because to the extent she did not incur any actual costs, she would be unjustly enriched by his reimbursement. The father also argued that nothing in the parties’ separation agreement obligated him to reimburse the mother for an amount which she was credited as a result of employment with the child’s school.

Citing the language of the parties’ agreement, however, the Appellate Court took the exact opposite position, concluding that nothing in the parties’ agreement precluded the mother from receiving reimbursement from the father for amounts credited to her. Despite the patently unforeseeable nature of the circumstances, according to the Court, the agreement simply failed to include the exception the father was now claiming. This case illustrates not only the uncertainty one might encounter at the trial court level, but also the degree to which appellate courts will defer to a lower court’s discretion.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate 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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Royalties from Book Sales Significant Income, Reconsideration of Property Division in Light of Double Dipping

In a recent post-judgment divorce action, the Appellate Court of Connecticut found that royalties from book sales constitute a significant source of income, and cannot be subject to both property division and alimony determinations.

The plaintiff, husband, and the defendant, wife, were married in 1992. However, in September 2009, the court rendered judgment dissolving the marriage due to irretrievable breakdown. Pursuant to the divorce decree, the court distributed the assets and liabilities of the marital estate and issued a number of financial orders, many of which the husband contested on appeal. Most notably, the husband had written and published a book, and per court order was required to pay the wife 30% of the value of the unsold books as well as 30% of all income he receives in the future from the sale of the books. The husband contended that this order was improper.

Intellectual property interests are considered marital property subject to division in a divorce action, as long as the proceeds are neither indefinite nor speculative. When a marital asset is considered for both property division and alimony awards, double dipping generally does not occur unless the asset assigned to nonemployee spouse was also counted in the court’s determination of the employee spouse’s resources when determining alimony. In other words, assets that do not produce significant income may be considered for both purposes, whereas assets that do produce such income cannot.

In this case, the Appellate Court found that the husband’s inventory of books constituted a significant source of income, as they produced a significant stream of income in the form of royalties (exceeding $50,000 in approximately one month). The lower court properly granted 30% of the royalties to the wife as alimony. However, also awarding 30% of the value of the unsold books as property division constituted impermissible double dipping. Therefore, the Appellate Court remanded this part of the case for reconsideration.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion regarding awards of alimony and assignment of property, a divorced individual 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 at 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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Mother Permitted to Relocate to Belgium with Minor Children

In a recent decision rendered in the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Litchfield, a mother was permitted to relocate with her children to Denmark. By way of background, the parties obtained a divorce in 2008, and are the parents of three minor children. The mother is a Belgian citizen, and in furtherance of her petition, claimed that a) she intended to remarry in Denmark and b) it would be in the children’s best interest to complete their secondary education in Europe.

Following a hearing, the court found that throughout the marriage the mother stayed home to care for the children, while the father traveled. After the parties’ divorce, the father only visited the children once per month. The Court found the visits to be inadequate as the father would rent a single room, and as the children grew older and it became inappropriate for all three to stay overnight, one would have to return home during the visitation. Additionally, more recently, the parties’ daughter stopped communicating with the father altogether after learning that he remarried without telling the children. Importantly, the court also found that the family lived in Europe for two years during the marriage, that the children are bilingual, that the children lived with the mother in Belgium for a period of time following the parties’ divorce, and that the children actually attended school in Denmark and Belgium for a period of time.

The court ultimately found that the proposed relocation was for a legitimate purpose, that the proposed location was reasonable in light of that purpose, and that the relocation was in the best interests of the children. More specifically, the court found that the mother’s desire to remarry constituted a legitimate purpose for the proposed move, and that her knowledge and experience dealing with the school system in Denmark enabled her to determine that the children would benefit from receiving an education there. The Court also relied upon its finding that there exists a close bond between both the mother and the children, and amongst the siblings, while the relationship between the children and their father is strained. In support of its decision, the court also noted that the children have already become accustomed to seeing their father relatively infrequently.

Should you have any questions regarding issues pertaining to relocation, or matrimonial matters in general, 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 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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Appellate Court Holds that Order Awarding Wife Rental Income from Former Marital Residence Constituted Impermissible Post Judgment Property Assignment

In a decision released on September 11, 2012, the Connecticut Appellate Court held that a post judgment trial court order permitting an ex-wife to rent the parties’ former marital residence, and use the proceeds to pay the mortgage, constituted an unauthorized post judgment property assignment. Pursuant to the original dissolution judgment, the wife was awarded exclusive use and possession of the former marital residence. The judgment also provided that the home would remain on the market for sale, with each party responsible for one-half of the monthly mortgage payments until it was sold.

Following the parties’ divorce, the ex-husband stopped paying his one-half share of the monthly mortgage obligation. The ex-wife filed a motion for contempt, and after a hearing, the court found that the husband was in fact in willful violation of the court’s orders. The ex-wife subsequently filed a post judgment motion for modification requesting permission to rent the home so she could use the proceeds to pay the mortgage. According to the wife, the husband was still in default, and since she was unable to pay the entire amount, the home would likely be foreclosed upon. The court granted the ex-wife’s request.

Years later the wife once again moved for a finding of contempt against the husband for failing to pay one-half of the mortgage, and prevailed. The husband appealed, claiming that by requiring him to contribute toward the monthly payment, despite the fact that the rental income covered the monthly payments in full, the court effectively awarded the wife his one-half share of the rental proceeds. According the husband, the court’s order constituted an impermissible post judgment property assignment.

The Appellate Court agreed. In reaching its decision, it noted that, “The court’s judgment in an action for dissolution of a marriage is final and binding upon the parties, where no appeal is taken therefrom, unless and to the extent that statutes, the common law or rules of court permit the setting aside or modification of that judgment..” Buehler v. Buehler, 138 Conn. App. 63 (2012). Although C.G.S. § 46b-86(a) allows for the modification of periodic alimony and child support (unless the order specifically precludes modification) the statute does not apply to property assignments under C.G.S. § 46b-81. As the Court in Buehler explained, “The statute, therefore, deprives the Superior Court of continuing jurisdiction over that portion of a dissolution judgment providing for the assignment of property of one party to the other party under General Statutes § 46b-81.” “Although the court has jurisdiction to assign property in connection with C.G.S. § 46b-81, that assignment is not modifiable.” Buehler, supra.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please feel free to contact Attorney 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 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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