Welsh v. Welsh
A court can find that a payor spouse who lost his first job, quit his second job and actively attempted to find a third job is not in contempt of court. The parties' separation contract provided that the defendant husband, Richard Welsh, would pay the plaintiff wife 45 percent of his gross annual income and that the husband would not attempt to "reduce, divert, delay or defer income for the purpose of reducing, limiting or delaying" the husband's alimony and support. Prior to the parties' separation, the husband, who has a master's degree in business administration, earned $275,000 gross per year as a senior portfolio manager at ING investments. The husband's job at ING was eliminated. After the parties separated, the husband earned $75,000 gross per year at Merrill Lynch. The husband voluntarily quit his job, as a result of ethical concerns about Merrill Lynch's charges to family members and pre-existing clients. The plaintiff wife moved that the court find that the defendant husband is in contempt of court, because he voluntarily resigned his job at Merrill Lynch. Although the husband is highly qualified in finance, the court was not persuaded that he should be held in contempt of court. The husband did not voluntarily resign from his job at ING Investments. The court was not persuaded that the husband, who actively sought a new job, currently has an earning capacity of $250,000 per year, as alleged. The court found that the husband's earning capacity is $80,000 gross per year, and it ordered the husband to pay the wife $3,600 per month, effective Nov. 19, 2012.