Szynkoicz v. Szynkoicz
A court in domestic relations cases sits in equity and equity will not grant a decree that is ineffectual because compliance is impossible. The defendant, Vincent Szynkoicz, appealed from the trial court's judgment dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Christine Szynkowcz, finding him primarily at fault for the breakdown of the marriage and issuing financial orders including for him to pay the plaintiff $36,000 per year in alimony, transfer all interest in the marital home to her, maintain $200,000 in life insurance naming her as irrevocable beneficiary, pay half of her medical insurance premiums, $8000 in attorneys' fees and $6471.63 in joint credit card debt. The defendant claimed that the court abused its discretion including by calculating alimony based on gross income, ordering him to obtain life insurance lacking a factual basis and ordering him to provide impracticable financial support. The Appellate Court disagreed and affirmed the judgment. The dissolution court did not improperly fashion the alimony order based on gross income. The defendant conceded that the court had before it evidence of his net income. It was clear that the court made passing reference to the defendant's gross income merely in reference to the variable of his overtime pay. The court was not required to make explicit findings as to net income. The financial orders were not punitive or impracticable. Given the plaintiff's especially difficult situation and physical disability from multiple sclerosis, serious injuries from a car accident and other health issues, the financial orders fell within the range of the court's discretion. The defendant had an associates degree, was in generally good health, worked for an elevator company and earned overtime pay. His 2010 gross earnings were $98,202.61. The defendant gave his girlfriend approximately $6000, paid for her vacation, and purchased other gifts. The dissolution court concluded that the defendant contributed most substantially to the family finances aside from the purchase of the marital home which was obtained through the settlement award for the plaintiff's car accident. The defendant claimed that he could not meet basic living expenses under the orders pointing to his financial affidavit. However, the dissolution court noted the affidavit's unreliability in post-dissolution orders. The court also did not abuse its discretion in it real property or attorneys' fee awards.