Domestic Violence Law changes that impact firearms possession


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Alimony after Dan v. Dan

In a Dec. 2014 decision the Supreme Court in Connecticut made sweeping changes regarding alimony modification, post judgment. The court held that a large increase in income on the part of one of the former spouses in and of itself is not sufficient grounds to modify alimony .The husband at the time of the divorce was earning approximately $696,000.00  in income and at the time of the modification, his income had increased to a salary of $3.4 million. The wife’s income had been $8,000 at the time of the divorce and was $12,000 at the time of  the request for modification. Wife’s medical expenses had increased  significantly. The court felt that no public policy goal or purpose of an alimony award would be advanced by permitting this modification when the only change of circumstances was the former spouse’s increased income. There was an indication the court believed the former wife was able to pay her medical bills.

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What to Know About Known Sperm Donors

What Lesbians Should Know about Known Sperm Donors

I handle of a lot of adoption cases for lesbian couples in which one partner becomes the biological mother through alternative insemination.  One of the most common misconceptions (if you’ll pardon the unfortunate pun) is that when the couple uses the sperm of a donor whose identity is known to them, everyone can just agree that the baby will belong to the lesbian couple and that’s the end of the story.  Nope.  Sorry, folks.  That would be way too easy.

The known sperm donor is the biological father unless and until his parental rights are terminated by the Probate Court.   He has rights and obligations associated with the child including the right to custody and visitation.  He may also be obligated to pay child support to the mother, if she is the custodial parent.

We all know that the intent of the couple and their known sperm donor is for the lesbian couple to both be deemed the legal parents of the child.  That can certainly be accomplished but it does require a court decree.  I’ve had couples tell me that they simply won’t put the known sperm donor’s name on the birth certificate as the father.  Problem solved, right?  Nope.  As part of the co-parent or step-parent adoption process, you will have to produce documentation from the sperm bank that the sperm donor was anonymous if no known father is listed.  Sorry folks, you can’t mess around with the court.

Other people have suggested that they’ll just write up an agreement between the known sperm donor and the couple and that will solve everything.  Again, nope.  Sorry.  Too easy.  The guy is still the biological father unless and until the judge terminates his parental rights.

Sperm donar photoThere are a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is that the State has an interest in protecting your child.  It also has an interest in not having to support your child for the next 18 years.  Let me explain.  It’s wonderful when a couple decides to start a family.  They are full of good intentions, lots of love and plenty of dreams for the future.  Unfortunately, not all couples stay together until the baby is born and the adoption has been completed.  The State is aware of this.  The Court is aware of this.  The Department of Children and Families is aware of this.  Therefore, it is not in the best interests of your child to enter the world with only one legal parent.  If something happens to the biological mother, everyone wants there to be another legal parent to step in and raise the child.

But I want my partner to be that person, you say.  I hear you, honest I do.  That can certainly become a reality.  You just can’t do it with a slight of hand.  It has to be done correctly, through the Probate Court.  There are ways to memorialize everyone’s intentions before and during the process.  There are documents that can be created to assist you if something unfortunate does occur.

If you are a lesbian couple desiring to start a family and you wish to use a known sperm donor, please take the time to speak with a lawyer who understands the same-sex adoption process.  It’s always best to be informed.

Learn more about: Adoption for Lesbian Couples in Connecticut

Posted in Family Law Tagged with: ,

Alimony: What is it? Must I pay it? Will I be entitled to receive it?

Alimony, also called spousal support, is the continuing duty to support your spouse. Historically it arose because the wife lost substantial rights to control her personal property, including earnings upon marriage. It was based upon husband’s fault and wife’s innocence. After the advent of No-Fault Divorce in the 1970’s, the concept changed dramatically.

alimony, spousal support

Spousal Support is now gender neutral. Unlike child support there is no formula to determine what the spousal support will be. Anaward of Alimony or spousal support and maintenance is based upon factors enumerated in our statutes.  One of these factors is still fault but another one is economic need. The judge or family relations officer is concerned with what this spouse needs to pay their bills and what the other spouse has for income. Child support is the primary obligation and spousal support will take into account any child support payments.

Alimony in Connecticut, is generally rehabilitative spousal support which gives the unemployed or underemployed spouse a chance to obtain the skills, training or education needed to be self-supporting. The weekly payments allow the spouse to get a full time job and pay their bills while going to school or brushing up on their job skills to improve their earnings. A spouse, who is disabled, advanced in age or was the stay at home parent may need the financial assistance longer than a spouse who has taken a short time off or worked part time while the children are young and merely needs time to look for suitable full time employment.

You or your spouse may be entitled to alimony pendent lite or temporary support to assist in paying the family bills while the case is pending.

The amount of the spousal support and maintenance as well as the length of time a spouse may be required to pay it is based upon the statutory factors and how they are applied in each case. Alimony is modifiable if there is a substantial change in circumstances. Schedule an appointment to discuss your situation in more detail.

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Disclaimer: The information presented here is only meant to offer a brief guide to alternative dispute resolution of divorce issues in Connecticut. It is not and should not be construed as legal advice and does not form an attorney/client relationship. Questions about your individual circumstances should be discussed with a licensed attorney. A Connecticut divorce mediation attorney at Gryk & Frolich  LLC is available to assist you in your legal matters.

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Child Support Guidelines

Child Support Guidelines in Connecticut

All parents have a legal obligation to support their children. It doesn’t matter if you are married to the other parent or not. You cannot quit your job or take a pay cut to reduce your support obligation. The child support award is based upon what you can earn, whether or not you choose to work. The obligation to support our children extends to custodial as well as non-custodial parents. It is considered your most important financial concern.

child support ct

Click to request free information on child support guidelines in CT

Connecticut uses child support guidelines to determine what your obligation is. The guidelines use a mathematical formula to determine how much you should pay. A Judge can decide if there should be a deviation from the child support calculated. If there is a deviation, it may mean you pay less or you pay more than the mathematical formula determined. The deviation is based upon your child’s needs whether it is a shared parenting plan or extraordinary expenses due to a child’s medical condition.

The Connecticut child support guidelines use a joint income approach to determine the joint obligation of these parents to support the child/ren. Your expenses should be adjusted to allow you the income needed to pay child support.  After that joint support obligation is calculated, it is proportionally assigned to the parents based upon what each earns or could earn. The custodial parent is expected to make their contribution by paying the rent, food, clothing, utility bills and the like. The non-custodial parent is expected to make a weekly payment to the custodial parent to be used by them to pay the other parent’s share of these same expenses.

Child support also requires parents to pay a share of child care expenses when parents work and unreimbursed medical expenses for the child/ren. The guidelines calculate the proportionate share to be paid by each parent.

There are some paycheck deductions that can be used to determine your net income and others that are not permitted. The tax withholding and medical insurance deductions reduce your gross income, for example, but your 401K Deduction does not. It is a voluntary contribution.

If you are the parent required to pay child support there may be a wage garnishment by the State of Connecticut to insure the child support is paid. In some cases, the parents may agree it can be paid directly to the other parent. If you are laid off, you may be able to ask the child support be reduced. If a person paying child support received a substantial pay increase, the custodial parent may ask child support be increased.

You might also be interested in:
Child Support: Parental Roles & Resources
Connecticut Divorce Laws

Disclaimer:  This should not be taken as legal advice and the reader is advised to contact an atoney to determine their rights.  The law varies from state to state.  To contact a Connecticut Lawyer, click here.

Posted in Child Support, Divorce Tagged with: , ,

Divorce: Court-Based vs. Collaborative

When a couple is separated, or is starting the divorce process, they have two ways to go about it.  They can choose to settle in court, or volunteer to proceed in a collaborative manner, outside of court.

1. In Court based divorce, the parties each can retain a divorce attorney to represent their interests. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, while the action is pending the parties can schedule court hearings and request the court enter temporary orders for custody, support and other necessary relief.

The parties can also request “Discovery” be provided by the other party and ask the court for sanctions if the requests are not complied with. They can retain professionals to value assets or determine cash flow at issue. The parties are entitled to a trial on the final issues (including child support, wills and trust etc), and the Judge will enter a Judgment on all issues presented.

2. In Collaborative divorce practice the client is represented by a divorce attorney and a team of professionals, as needed, and through a series of scheduled meetings work out an agreement suited to their family’s circumstances. This is a solution based system accomplished by reviewing all the alternatives with the team and choosing the one that addresses the concerns of all parties most closely.

In collaborative divorce, the parties agree to:

  • Voluntarily provide all information, financial or otherwise, necessary to make this a successful experience.
  • Waive the right to use the court system to address their concerns
  • Waive the right to have their Divorce Attorneys represent them if the process fails and the case is litigated

There are risks inherent in either choice and after legal consultation on the options, you choose the one that is best suited to your situation.

Gryk Frolich LLC helps Connecticut families find the solutions they need to successfully resolve their differences during separation and divorce.

Schedule a free consultation to get the divorce mediation process started, and legal questions answered.


Copyright 2012 Evelyn Gryk Frolich, Esq.

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Divorce, Family Law Tagged with: ,
Please be advised that this website/blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal advice, and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. All legal questions should be addressed to a licensed attorney.
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