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Court Denies Husband’s Motion to Modify Alimony...
Despite His Loss of Employment
In a recent post judgment divorce action, the Court denied a husband’s motion to modify alimony despite his loss of employment. The parties were divorced in 2008, and pursuant to the final judgment of dissolution, the husband was ordered to pay his wife alimony in the amount of $6,000.00 per month. The husband worked in the financial industry throughout the course of the marriage and at the time of the divorce was earning roughly $300,000.00 per year.
In 2011, the husband’s position was eliminated. Although he was laid off, the employer provided the husband with a severance package which included, among other things, $319,820.00 in salary. The husband’s total income for 2011 was over $800,000.00, which included employment income and other settlement monies associated with his severance. The husband’s severance agreement contained a one year non-competition clause.
Following a hearing, the court found that the husband had made efforts to find new employment, and start his own consulting firm. The court further found that the husband maintained contacts and kept up with industry and market trends, and noted that the one year non-competition clause likely impacted his ability to secure a new job.
Nevertheless, the wife effectively demonstrated that despite the husband’s loss of employment, his lifestyle remained unchanged. In fact, with the exception of one noted modification, the husband’s discretionary expenses remained exactly the same. Furthermore, the husband vacationed in both Europe and Florida, and maintained ties to various social associations within his community. Noting that lifestyle and personal expenses may serve as the basis for imputing income, the court found that the husband clearly was not concerned about his economic future, and, thus, denied his motion for modification.
If the court refuses to award alimony at the final hearing, and if alimony is not included in the final judgment, neither spouse can return to court in the future and request alimony due to a change in circumstance. Many final divorce judgments in Connecticut award $1 a year in alimony because this preserves the right to revisit the alimony issue if circumstances change.
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