Neuhaus v. Neuhaus
A court can find that a party who is discharged and who signs a contract not to compete with his former employer for one year fails to establish a substantial change in circumstances, as a result of failure to immediately obtain employment. The plaintiff husband, who was discharged in 2011, moved to modify alimony of $6,000 per month that the husband previously was ordered to pay until the wifes death, marriage, cohabitation or Dec. 31, 2015. The husband argued that there was a substantial change in circumstances, because of his discharge. The court found that the husband, who earned in excess of $300,000 per year at TNS North America, was discharged because the company eliminated his position. The husband signed a contract, agreeing not to compete for one year and, in return, TNS North America paid the husband lump sum severance pay of one years salary, plus benefits. The husband is well educated and has worked in banking and finance for more than 20 years. The husband appears to be searching for a similar job to the one that he held at TNS North America. It can be logically inferred, wrote the court, that the non-competition clause which has just expired was hampering his attractiveness as an employee. While unemployed and in receipt of unemployment benefits, the husbands lifestyle was unchanged, except that he performed his own landscaping. The husband vacationed in Florida and Europe and he maintained ties to social organizations. Lifestyle and personal expenses may serve as the basis for imputing income where conventional methods for determining income are inadequate, pursuant to Carasso v. Carasso, a 2003 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. Here, the husband clearly expects to obtain employment in the near future, and he failed to establish a substantial change in circumstances, as a result of his discharge.