Ferraro v. Ferraro
Even if a party previously earned substantially higher income, a court can find that a party who suffers from a chronic illness has an earning capacity that is commensurate with the amount currently earned. The parties married in June 1996 and have three children. Allegedly, the husband called the wife, who completed ninth grade before the marriage and obtained a General Educational Development degree during the marriage, "stupid" and "retard." The wife, 43, worked as a homemaker for several years and then went to a dog grooming school, earned a certificate and started up her own mobile dog grooming business. Allegedly, the wife was unable to keep appointments with customers, because she suffered from chronic ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, and she found another job as a cashier. The husband served as a bookkeeper for the wife's business and argued that the wife has an earning capacity of $75,000 gross per year. The court found that the wife has an earning capacity of $505 per week. The husband, 42, earns $97,000 gross per year as a facilities manager and earns $1,880 gross per week. The court did not credit the husband's claim that the wife's dog grooming certificate has equal value to his MBA, which he earned by taking one course per semester at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute while he worked at United Technologies Corp. The court awarded the wife alimony of $430 per week until the wife's death, marriage or the husband's retirement (at a normal retirement age), whichever takes place first. The court ordered the wife to pay child support of $103 per week. The court awarded the husband his business interests in CT Custom Conversions, the Nissan, the Dodge Ram and a boat. The court awarded the wife her interests in her business and the van she used for dog grooming. The court ordered the wife to pay the husband $5,000, if she sells the van within three years. The wife sold a Yukon and leased a Hyundai, without court permission. The court found the wife in contempt of court and ordered the wife to pay $700.