Straiton v. Straiton
A court can find that a party has a higher earning capacity, regardless of the party's chronic disability. The parties began living together in the mid-1990s and married in 2000. They adopted a child. The husband, 48, started working at Amphenol as a mechanical engineer, when he graduated from college, and worked his way up to management positions. Currently, the husband earns a base salary of $185,412 gross per year. Previously, the husband also earned significant extra income as a remodeling contractor and a partner in Candlewood Machine Products LLC. The court found that the husband does not currently receive much income from these activities and it did not consider them, when it calculated alimony and support. The wife, 45, suffers from beta thalassemia major and had her spleen removed when she was 4 years old. The wife undergoes monthly transfusions at Yale-New Haven Hospital and receives Social Security disability of $1,209 per month, plus about $300 per month as a hairdresser. The husband claimed that the wife is capable of earning more. The court agreed that although the wife is disabled, the wife's potential earnings are "considerably higher" than $300 per month. She could easily earn $385 gross per week, provided that she had five or more clients per week. The wife, who has an earning capacity of $20,000 gross per year, working as a hairdresser, has restricted work abilities and financial opportunities, compared to the husband. The court ordered the husband to pay child support of $325 per week. The court ordered the husband to pay alimony of $3,500 per month, until the wife's death, marriage or cohabitation. The court awarded the wife the marital residence and ordered the wife to refinance and to pay the husband $160,000. The court awarded the wife 50 percent of the husband's stock options. The court denied the wife's motion to find the husband in contempt of court. The court awarded the husband his business interests in Candlewood Machine Products LLC and the wife her interests in a hairdressing business. The court awarded the wife the Honda and the husband the Dodge.