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Cases of Interest: Professional Licenses and Degrees
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

CONNECTICUT: Simmons v. Simmons, 244 Conn. 158, 708 A.2d 949 (1998).
A medical degree earned during marriage is not property subject to equitable distribution, but the other spouse is normally entitled to compensation through an alimony award if the couple's assets are insufficient to permit compensation through the property division.
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INDIANA: Roberts v. Roberts, 670 N.E.2d 72 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996).
A professional degree earned during marriage is not a marital asset, but the degree holder's increased earning capacity may be considered as justification for an unequal division of other assets.
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IOWA: In re Marriage of Plasencia, 541 N.W.2d 923 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995).
An advanced degree earned during marriage is not a marital asset, although its potential to increase the future earnings of the degree holder is a factor to consider when determining the equitable division of property.
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KENTUCKY: Brosick v. Brosick, 974 S.W.2d 498 (Ky. Ct. App. 1998).
The husband was not entitled to reimbursement for his contributions to the wife's nursing degree where the evidence did not show an inequality between the parties' contributions to the marital estate.
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LOUISIANA: Barrow v. Barrow, 669 So. 2d 622 (La. Ct. App. 1996).
The husband was not entitled to reimbursement for his financial contributions to the wife's degree in nursing, where he earned nearly $2 million during the period in which she attended school and he did not expect to enjoy a higher standard of living upon her receipt of the degree.
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MISSISSIPPI: Guy v. Guy, 736 So. 2d 1042 (Miss. 1999).
The Supreme Court of Mississippi definitively stated that professional degrees are not marital property subject to equitable distribution upon divorce.
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MISSISSIPPI: Neville v. Neville, 734 So. 2d 352 (Miss. Ct. App. 1999).
Evidence that the husband made significant contributions to the wife's medical school expenses and that the wife's adultery led to the dissolution of the marriage supported the equitable distribution award of alimony to the husband while denying him rights to the wife's medical practice.
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MISSOURI: Valdez v. Thierry, 963 S.W.2d 459 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998).
The parties' 1987 dissolution decree was enforceable despite an allegedly invalid provision classifying the husband's engineering education as marital property and awarding the wife a percentage of the husband's future income.
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NEW YORK: Halaby v. Halaby, No. 89327, 2001.NY.0008965 (N.Y. App. Div. Dec. 6, 2001).
The wife argued that the husband's post-doctoral degree increased the husband's earning potential and that this potential should be reflected in the equitable distribution decree. In this case, although the couple was married on August 3, 1996, they lived separately as the wife pursued her Bachelor's degree and the husband completed his Ph.D. in biology.
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NEW YORK: Vora v. Vora, ___ A.D.2d ___, 702 N.Y.S.2d 343 (2000).
The wife was entitled to a 10% interest in the husband's enhanced earning capacity as a physician, where the wife cared for the couple's child, provided economic support, and sacrificed her education while the husband pursued his medical license.
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NEW YORK: Murtha v. Murtha, ___ A.D.2d ___, 694 N.Y.S.2d 382 (1999).
The husband's certification as a certified financial analyst was includable in the marital estate at a value of $200,000.
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NEW YORK: McSparron v. McSparron, 87 N.Y.2d 275, 662 N.E.2d 745 (1995).
The present value of any increased earning capacity attributable to a professional license earned during marriage constitutes marital property, even after the licensee has had the time and the opportunity to realize a portion of that enhanced earning capacity.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Conway v. Conway, ___ N.C. App. ___, 508 S.E.2d 812 (1998).
Although the husband's medical license was not marital property, the trial court was justified under the circumstances in making an award to the wife in excess of the total net value of the marital estate.
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OKLAHOMA: Kittredge v. Kittredge, 911 P.2d 903 (Okla. 1995).
The parties' divorce decree was not void on the theory that it improperly divided the husband's future earnings in violation of the state equitable distribution statute, where the husband had agreed to pay the wife a percentage of his future income in lieu of property division.
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RHODE ISLAND: Becker v. Perkins-Becker, 669 A.2d 524 (R.I. 1996).
The enhanced earning capacity of one spouse from an advanced degree acquired during the marriage is not marital property subject to distribution upon marriage dissolution.
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