Kwolek v. Kwolek
A court can find that a party who willfully attempts to conceal or to dispose of marital assets is in contempt of court. The parties married in 1985 and have three children. In 2012, the 65-year-old husband, who previously worked at Digital Equipment Corp., Edge Technology and Verizon Wireless, earned $70,000 to $90,000 gross as a day trader. The 52-year-old wife, who previously earned $13 per hour as an administrative assistant lost her job and is not employed. The court credited the wife's claim that the husband was manipulative and controlling. Although the wife accepted responsibility for the breakdown of the marital relationship, because she failed to confront the husband, the court found the husband at greater fault. The court found that the husband, who allegedly answered a question about his disposition of money with a question, "If I bought something illegal, can I plead the 5th?" misappropriated $94,000 from his Fidelity Individual Account. The husband's testimony that in 2013 he converted $328,000 in marital funds to purchase gold bars—and did not report the alleged theft of the gold for three months, because he did not want to prosecute the wife if she was responsible—was "ludicrous." The court found the husband in willful contempt of court. The husband's testimony, wrote the court, was "self-serving" and "disingenuous." He willfully attempted to conceal or to dispose of marital assets. If the husband admitted that he earned $70,000 in 2012, he probably earned more. At the conclusion of trial, the husband asked the court to award nothing to the wife. The court ordered the husband to pay alimony of $250 per week until February 2014 and then alimony of $1 per year. The court awarded the husband the marital residence and ordered the husband to pay the wife $120,000. Alternatively, the court ordered the parties to sell and awarded the wife the first $120,000 in net proceeds. The court awarded the husband his farm in New York, $11,500 in investments and the missing gold bars. The court awarded the wife approximately $511,992 in investments and 100 percent of the husband's pension.