Posts tagged with "modification"

How Long Will My Supervised Visits with My Children Last in Connecticut?

If there was a reason for your agreement to have supervised visits with your children, then you must comply with the agreement until the situation has changed.  Once your prior situation has changed, and you feel you should be entitled to unsupervised visits with your children, you may file a motion to modify visitation.  However, it is important to keep in mind that although you feel confident that your previous situation has changed, the deciding factor is how the court views your progress.  Reports from the children’s guardian ad litem as well as your doctors (etc.), may be the deciding factor in modifying the custody agreement.  If you are not represented by counsel, it would best to consult an experienced family law attorney who can assist you in requesting a change in visitation and educate you on the best steps to take in the future.

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

When Tug-of-War is Not a Game: Relocation After Divorce

Lawyers often find ourselves telling clients that their divorce is never truly “final” when there are children involved. Regrettably, many of the symptoms that bring spouses to our offices in the first place –the arguing, the conflict, certain confines and restrictions – may continue to exist on some level even after the lawyers have done their jobs and a judge signs a final judgment, especially when the divorcing parents are now entrusted with the responsibility to co-parent young children, from different homes, and from new perspectives.

Nowhere is that more evident than in cases where one spouse seeks to relocate with the minor children to a new state – perhaps hundreds of miles away from his or her former spouse, and his or her former life.

Developments in the law even in the past few years have refined the processes and legal burdens for spouses seeking to take their children to another location, perhaps to be closer to extended family or a support network, nearer to a new job or opportunity, or for other economic reasons.

The legal burden in Connecticut now rests squarely upon the parent seeking a relocation to prove to a court (assuming the other parent objects to the move) that the relocation of the children is for a legitimate purpose, that the relocation is reasonably related to achieving that purpose, and that the move and resulting transplantation is truly in the best interests of the minor child or children of the marriage.

In reaching its determination, a court will likely hear evidence from each parent, relevant witnesses and/or healthcare professionals or experts, and likely a court-appointed guardian to represent the child’s interests in such a proceeding. Among other things, a court shall consider each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation, the relationship each parent has with the subject child or children, any potential enhancement that the relocation might have on the child’s life or development, the feasibility of visitation or maintained contact between the non-relocating parent and the child notwithstanding the geographic shift, and the impact the relocation would have on the relationship between the child and the parent who might be left behind.

These types of post-judgment proceedings are often painful for both litigants and are driven by facts as much as the law – facts which could and often do have nothing whatever to do with the underlying reasons for the divorce itself. A parent involved in a post-judgment relocation dispute in Connecticut must prepare for a contentious legal battle where personal convictions, risk tolerance, and emotions can and will be tested.

We advise clients in these cases not merely to weigh their legal options, but to evaluate and assess the best interests of their children who are innocently caught in perhaps the cruelest game of tug-of-war imaginable. We prepare our clients and assist them in structuring their case for the most favorable presentation of facts and evidence to support their legal position. Those considering or faced with the specter of a relocation petition should retain counsel who are both well-versed in the law and attuned to the reality and repercussions that litigation brings to children’s lives – sometimes years after the ink has dried on a divorce decree.

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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Non-Compete Agreements in Connecticut Publication

Maya Murphy has published a 32-page booklet devoted exclusively to the subject of non-compete agreements in Connecticut. The publication covers the origin of non-competes as creatures of contract, covering such areas as the consideration for the covenant not to compete and the required “meeting of the minds.” It then highlights termination of employment as well as the enforceability of a non-compete clause. The publication moves on to discuss Connecticut’s five-prong test for determining the reasonableness of a restrictive employment agreement, circumstances constituting breach as well as forms of relief, and judicial enforcement, including modification and “blue lining.”

You may view the content of the publication on this website by following this link, or you may download it in its entirety here: Maya Murphy Non-Compete Publication

Should you have any questions regarding non-compete agreements in Connecticut, please contact Robert Keepnews, Esq. at the Maya Murphy office located in Westport located in Fairfield County at (203) 221-3100 or at RKeepnews@mayalaw.com.

Copyright © 2012 · Maya Murphy, P.C.

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

In Klages v. Klages, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Should you have any questions relating to alimony, or divorce proceedings generally, 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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Despite Father’s Unemployment, Court Awards Support Based on Earning Capacity

Recently, a Connecticut Superior Court again applied the principle of utilizing a party’s “earning capacity” – rather than actual earnings – to the modification of a support award in post-judgment matrimonial action. Earning capacity is not an amount that a person can “theoretically earn,” nor is it confined to actual income, but rather it is an amount which an individual “can realistically be expected to earn, considering his skills, age and health.” Weinstein v. Weinstein, 104 Conn.App. 482, 489, 934 A.2d 306 (2007), Elia v. Elia, 99 Conn. App. 829, 833, 916 A.2d 845 (2007).

In the matter of Weismuller v. Weismuller, (New London J.D. at Norwich), the defendant husband, who represented himself at trial, sought a downward modification of his child support award on the basis that he had become unemployed since the judgment of dissolution. The Court found that the defendant had previously earned approximately $170,000.00 per year as the chief judge of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court. Although the defendant was not reappointed when his term came to a close, the Court found his efforts at re-employment to be lacking despite the presentation of employment applications with various government agencies and tribal courts. The Court instead found that Weismuller, who now sought a modification of his support obligations, failed to prove he had engaged in a good-faith, comprehensive, and meaningful search for employment.

With a thinly-veiled message to the defendant and unemployed individuals elsewhere in this State who seek to modify support orders on that basis, the Court wrote, “While the court understands and appreciates that a highly paid professional may take significant time to return to the workforce, the court concludes that this time is fast approaching.”

Individuals who seek to modify terms of a separation agreement and divorce judgment should first seek the assistance of a well-qualified, experienced family law practitioner.

Questions about this posting may be directed to Attorney H. Daniel Murphy at hdmurphy@mayalaw.com or 203-221-3100.

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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 DCF Case, Grandmother was Permitted to Relocate to North Carolina with the Minor Child

In a recent case involving the Department of Children and Families, a maternal grandmother was permitted to move with her granddaughter from Connecticut to North Carolina after successfully intervening in the matter. By way of background, the plaintiff and defendant were the parents of a thirteen year old child. Unfortunately, their relationship was filled with conflict which resulted in DCF involvement. At one point, the Department filed a neglect petition against both parents upon allegations of domestic violence, drug use, abandonment and lack of cooperation with authorities. Pursuant to a Probate Court order, the maternal grandmother was awarded temporary custody, and in a subsequent Family Court action, she was awarded sole legal and physical custody.

The grandmother later filed a motion for modification requesting that the court allow her to relocate to North Carolina with the child. In reviewing the circumstances, the court noted that the father presented as smart and well-spoken, and that it appeared he wanted his daughter to be a part of his life. However, it also noted that, historically, his visitation was sporadic and there were long periods of time when he did not see his daughter at all. The Court also found that the father blamed everyone else for his absence, and although he objected to the maternal grandmother’s motion to relocate, he failed to provide any viable proposal to support the child himself. The mother did not offer herself as an option for custody; rather she expressed agreement with the proposed relocation.

The Court found that the grandmother demonstrated a substantial change in the circumstances warranting a modification of the then current custody arrangement, namely that she was retiring to North Carolina. The Court further found that she and her husband rented an affordable apartment, that she had family support in the proposed area, that she researched the schools and was satisfied they would give the child a good education, and that as she was not employed, she would be at home full time to care for the child. The Court also found that the grandmother was willing to provide transportation so the child could see her father. The family relations investigator and guardian ad litem both supported the move, testifying that it would be in the child’s best interests. Based on the foregoing, the Court ultimately found that a change in circumstances existed, that the relocation was for a legitimate purpose, that the proposed location in North Carolina was reasonable in light of that purpose and that the relocation was in the best interests of the minor child.

Should you have any questions regarding DCF or family matters, 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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Request for Attorneys’ Fees Denied: Court finds that wife “cannot be rewarded for her own financial indiscretions.”

This week, 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 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.

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.

Questions regarding the above may be directed to Attorney Murphy at hdmurphy@mayalaw.com or at 203-221-3100.
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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 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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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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Trial Court Transforms Time Limited Alimony Award into Lifetime Alimony

A recent decision rendered in a post judgment divorce action highlights the importance of using clear and unambiguous language when drafting alimony and support provisions meant to preclude modifiability. In that particular case, the husband was obligated to pay to the wife periodic alimony in the amount of $1,500 per week until the death of either party, the wife’s remarriage or cohabitation, or her sixtieth birthday, whichever first occurred. Significantly, the wife was also awarded a one-half interest in the marital portion of the husband’s profit-sharing plan which had a value of approximately $1,000,000, although the parties later agreed to reduce her share by just over $500,000.

One month before her sixtieth birthday, the wife filed a motion to modify alimony, claiming that substantial changes in the market resulted in a significant reduction in the value of the husband’s profit-sharing plan such that she would be unable to support herself as originally anticipated. The trial court granted the wife’s motion and, although it modified the amount of alimony down to $1,095 per week, it eliminated all limitations on the term of the award.

The husband appealed arguing that the trial court’s order impermissibly transformed a limited duration alimony award into lifetime alimony. In upholding the trial court’s decision, the Appellate Court explained that provisions precluding modification are generally disfavored, and to that end, an order shall be considered nonmodifiable only if the decree distinctly and unambiguously expresses so. Indeed, if an order purportedly precluding modification is ambiguous, it will be deemed modifiable. Although the order in this particular case indicated that alimony would terminate upon the wife’s sixtieth birthday, there was no provision in the judgment specifically stating that alimony was nonmodifiable. For that very reason, the Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s ruling, declaring the provision ambiguous, and, thus, modifiable. Again, this case emphasizes the importance of using clear and unambiguous language when crafting a separation agreement which will ultimately be incorporated into the Court’s judgment of dissolution. If ambiguous or imprecise language is used, the provision at issue may become subject to judicial interpretation.

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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