Kopylec v. Kopylec
A court can find one party at greater fault for the breakdown of the marital relationship, as a result of evidence that that party colluded to deprive the other spouse of savings and possessions. The parties met in 1995, when the wife, a citizen of Poland, traveled to the U.S. The wife returned to Poland, divorced her husband, and returned to the U.S. with her 10-year-old child, to marry the defendant in 1997. The husband, 76, has undergone surgery for fluid on the brain and experiences difficulty with balance, mobility and hearing. Currently, the husband, a former welder, receives $396 per week in Social Security benefits and $96 per week in rent. The wife, 63, suffers from a thyroid condition and earns $250 net per week as a companion and clerical worker and $151 per week in Social Security benefits. After the wife obtained protective and restraining orders, the husband lived in homeless shelters and his motor vehicle. The husband denied that he physically abused the wife. The court did not credit the wife's claims about the extent and nature of physical abuse. The court credited the husband's claims that he was afraid of the wife's son and that the wife's son stole and pawned his musical instrument. The court found the wife at greater fault for the breakdown of the marital relationship, "as a result of her continuously deceptive behaviors and collusion with her son to deprive [the husband] of his savings and possessions." Although the parties continuously sent financial assistance to the wife's relatives in Poland, the court rejected the husband's claim that the wife possesses an interest in property in Poland. The court awarded each party 50 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of the Connecticut marital residence, after the payment of the wife's hospital and medical expenses. Each party was awarded accounts and investments. The court awarded the husband his interests in a condo and a boat.