Walzer v. Walzer
A court may consider the wife's age, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability and assets when it awards pendente lite alimony. The parties married in 1982. Although the husband, who no longer practices law, admits that in the recent past he estimated his net worth at $26 to $29 million, currently he estimates his assets at $11.3 million and his debt at $2.55 million. The husband claims that he receives about $5,473 net per week in income. The husband has an interest in a business, R.S. Motorsports LLC, and indicated that the inventory was valued at $2.69 million in 2011. The husband has three full-time and two part-time workers. The husband introduced evidence that he has paid the wife $350,618 since June 2012. The husband offered to pay the plaintiff wife pendente lite alimony of $18,000 per month and $30,000 toward the wife's attorneys' fees. The wife, a homemaker, receives $173 gross per week from Social Security and has spent $90,000 toward attorneys' fees. The wife requested pendente lite alimony of $8,500 per week and that the husband pay $200,000 toward attorneys' and expert fees. The court considered the 74-year-old wife's age, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability and assets. "Each of the foregoing factors," wrote the court, "militates in favor of an award of pendente lite alimony that is higher than that proposed by the defendant." A court order that requires the defendant to liquidate significant assets could result in fewer assets for both parties. Failure to award attorneys' fees could undermine the pendente lite alimony award. Although extra effort will be required, because of his "foot-dragging," for the wife to obtain accurate information about the husband's finances, the wife did not prove she needs multiple attorneys to protect her interests. The court awarded the wife pendente lite alimony of $5,750 per week, retroactive to April 2013. The court also awarded attorneys' fees of $17,000 per month, between July and October 2013.