Saturday, April 26, 2008

Emotional now or financial later!!!

BY Terry Bankert 4/26/08
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Full article at
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WFLT 1420 AM 9 AM 4/26/08- PROGRAM “ KNOW THE LAW” CALL IN! On Saturday 4/26/08 from 9:am until 9:30 am We will talk about Spousal support reviewing a case on spousal support on my radio program “ Know the Law” WFLT 1420 am radio. This is a call in program and you may ask question on the air by calling 810-239-5733. __________________________

Spousal support; Olson v. Olson; Maldonado v. Ford Motor Co.; Moore v. Moore; Fletcher v. Fletcher; Hanaway v. Hanaway; Sands v. Sands;

Whether plaintiff-wife was entitled to share in the appreciation of the rental property defendant purchased before the parties' marriage; Reeves v. Reeves;

Denial of plaintiff's request for attorney fees; Kosch v. Kosch; Maake v. Maake; Chisnell v. Chisnell; Quade v. Quade;

Whether the trial court abused its discretion by prohibiting plaintiff from presenting evidence of alleged fraud during trial;

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)4-15-2008

Kent Circuit Court

Case Name: Kettlewell v. Kettlewell e-Journal Number: 39070 Judge(s): Per Curiam - Fitzgerald, Smolenski, and Beckering The court held the trial court's determination of spousal support was inequitable because the award did not balance the needs and equities of the parties in a manner preventing the plaintiff-wife from becoming impoverished.

On remand, the trial court should reconsider the award of spousal support, keeping the ultimate objective in mind. While the trial court appeared to take the appropriate factors into account, the court found the trial court abused its discretion by awarding plaintiff insufficient spousal support to prevent her from invading her marital assets to support herself.

The trial court did not balance the needs and incomes of the parties without impoverishing plaintiff.

The trial court specifically recognized the parties previously enjoyed a "middle class" standard of living, plaintiff needed spousal support and would not be able to avoid a "wide disparity in incomes" without it, and the defendant was able to pay spousal support.

However, the trial court only awarded spousal support in the amount of $1,000 per month ($12,000 per year) for 60 months (5 years).

In contrast, defendant's base salary was approximately $125,000 per year.

Thus, not only did the trial court's award of spousal support result in a disparity between the incomes and lifestyles of the parties, but it was unlikely plaintiff, without a post-secondary degree or significant work experience, would be able to maintain a "middle class" standard of living on $12,000 per year without immediately invading her marital assets, contrary to the court's mandate in Hanaway.

Further, it was unlikely plaintiff, who will be over the age of 50, would be able to maintain even a modest lifestyle after 5 years, when defendant no longer provides spousal support. While the trial court found plaintiff responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, fault is only one of the relevant factors in determining spousal support, and "a judge's role is to achieve equity, not to ‘punish' one of the parties."

There are 14 factors the court should review when setting spousal support.
1.The relation and conduct of the parties during the marraige.
2.The length of the marraige.
3.The parties ability to work.
4.The distribution of the assests awared to the parties.
5.Age of the parties.
6.The ability of the parties to pay support.
7.present situation of the parties.
8.The parties needs.
9.Health of the parties.
10.Prior standard of living and whether one party had been responsible for the support of the other.
11.Parties contribution to the marital estate.
13. Effects of co habitation equity (fairness) Olson V Olson 256 MA 619, 631 671 NW2d 64 (2003)

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. [The e-journal was modifed for blog and radio presentation, look to the origonal]

Posted here by Terry Bankert ...
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