Posts tagged with "unallocated"

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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“Nonmodifiable,” Unallocated Support Award Deemed Modifiable Upon a Change of Primary Residence

In a decision rendered earlier this year, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that child support orders may be modified upon a change in primary residence, even where a separation agreement contains language expressly precluding such modification. In this particular case, the parties are the parents of two minor children. Following their divorce, the children lived with the mother on a primary basis. With respect to financial support, the parties’ separation agreement provided that the husband would pay unallocated periodic alimony and child support to the mother for a designated period of time. The agreement further provided that the unallocated support would be nonmodifiable as to both amount and term. Notably, the agreement did not permit modification upon a change in primary residence of the children.

At some point after the dissolution, the parties agreed to transfer primary physical custody of the children to the father. Shortly thereafter, the father filed a motion to modify the unallocated alimony and child support award based on the change in primary residence. The mother opposed the motion, however, claiming that the parties’ separation agreement expressly precluded modification.

At the trial court level, the father testified that since the children moved into his home on a primary basis, he had been covering additional expenses including cellular telephone bills, extra-curricular activities, entertainment and transportation for the children. Although neither party presented evidence to suggest that the children’s needs were not being met, and despite the aforementioned language precluding modification, the court held that the unallocated order was modifiable. When the Connecticut Appellate Court disagreed, the father appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that where primary physical custody is transferred from a child support recipient to a child support payor, a provision precluding modification of an unallocated financial award does not in fact prevent modification of the child support component. In reaching its decision, the Court relied primarily on C.G.S. § 46b-224, which essentially provides that whenever the Superior Court orders a change in custody of children who are the subject of preexisting support orders, such change in custody shall operate to suspend the support order if custody is transferred to the child support obligor, or modify the designated payee of the support order to be the person awarded guardianship or custody. In other words, as the Court explained, “if the obligor becomes the new primary custodial parent, the obligor is no longer required to pay child support to the former custodian.” Tomlinson v. Tomlinson, 305 Conn. 529 (2012). The Court further articulated, “…the originally designated payee who no longer has custody of the child does not continue to receive support payments following the change in custody, and the payments are retained by or redirected to the party who does have custody.” Id. The Court further held that C.G.S. § 46b-224 operates automatically regardless of the terms of a separation agreement.

Should you have any questions regarding child support modifications, or divorce related 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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