Dan v. Dan
The trial court, having found a substantial change in circumstances under C.G.S. §46b-86(a), properly considered the factors in C.G.S. §46b-82 in increasing the defendant's alimony obligation. In 2000, the trial court dissolved the 29 year long marriage of the plaintiff, Mary Lou Dan, and the defendant, Michael Dan. The judgment incorporated by reference the parties' stipulation providing that the defendant would pay the plaintiff $15,000 in monthly alimony, plus 25 percent of certain bonuses, until the plaintiff's death, remarriage, cohabitation, or the defendant retired or reached the age of 65, whichever came first. In Jan. 2010, the plaintiff filed a post judgment motion for modification of alimony asserting that the defendant's income had increased greatly and her medical costs had "skyrocketed." The defendant conceded that his income substantially increased. The trial court found that the defendant then earned a base salary of $3,240,000 per year, compared to $696,000 per year in 2000. He also realized in 2010, $3,000,000 in cash-ins from stock options. Aside from alimony, the plaintiff's income consisted of dividend and interest income of $8000 to $12,000 per year. The plaintiff had worked as an administrative assistant but had not been employed since 1977. The court found that she took medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma and diabetes, but was not persuaded that her medical expenses had increased. The court found a substantial change in circumstances under C.G.S. §46b-86(a), considered the statutory factors for setting alimony in C.G.S. §46b-82(a) and increased the defendant's alimony obligation to $40,000 per month to continue until the death, remarriage or cohabitation of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed claiming that the trial court abused its discretion in increasing the amount and eliminating the durational limit of his alimony obligation. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The trial court reasonably determined that, considering the length of the marriage, health and vocational skills of the parties and the amount and sources of income, that the defendant's alimony obligation should be increased. The result did not constitute an abuse of the broad discretion afforded to trial courts in domestic relations matters. The trial court, having found a substantial change in circumstances under C.G.S. §46b-86, properly considered the statutory factors for setting alimony in C.G.S. §46b-82, rather than only those factors that had changed since the dissolution judgment.