Alimony Award with Significant Earner
Submitted by New Jersey Family Law Firm, Hark and Hark.
Docket No. A-1071-16T4
Decided May 8, 2020
In a recent unpublished decision, Ippolito v. Ippolito, the Appellate Division reviewed an open duration alimony award of $960,000 annually, imputing income to Husband at $2,500,000 per year, among other issues in the divorce.
In Ippolito, the parties were married for 22 years. Husband had been a significant earner in Wall Street. Husband’s W-2 earnings averaged $2,500,000 per year. Wife testified that when including Husband’s financial incentives that were not paid out, Husband earned approximately $30,000,000 in two years. When Wife sought divorce, Husband threatened to spend every dime and cause hardship on Wife and the children.
Husband filed approximately 72 court applications between the filing of divorce and its completion. These applications included federal court, bankruptcy, municipal court, applications for restraining orders, and numerous appeals. Husband was eventually barred from making any further applications to the Court without court approval. Husband was arrested for arrears in child support and pendente lite support, refused to answer the Judge’s questions, and was released after the divorce was completed.
The trial court found Husband was voluntarily unemployed, and imputed his income at $2,500,000 for purposes of calculating child support and alimony. Husband’s assets were divided equally between the parties, but most of his shares were awarded to Wife for past due child support and pendente lite support. Wife was awarded $1,183,923.50 in counsel fees and expert fees, payable by Husband.
Husband appealed the decision. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s divorce ruling. Husband had made so many frivolous applications in several courts, that the trial judge’s decisions were sound. It was also proper to impute Husband’s income, as he was a significant earner, and intentionally left his job in an attempt to prevent Wife from having a significant alimony award.
This is an extreme case, but divorce matters can take a serious emotional and financial toll on both parties. If you or your significant other have significant assets, bank accounts, retirement funds, or investments and you are seeking separation, contact us immediately. It is vital to establish what assets are subject to equitable distribution and which are not. It is also crucial to determine alimony and child support obligations to ensure a just outcome.
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Michael J. Collis, Esquire