Monday, April 28, 2014

NEW YORK DIVORCE - WHEN HUSBAND IS THE HOMEMAKER

Here are the facts:

"The facts of the case did not differ from what was adduced during the first trial with the respect to the assets acquired during the marriage and income of the parties. Although, the Appellate Division held that the findings by the prior trial court were patently unfair to Defendant, Plaintiff did not differ from her position that Defendant should not receive an equal equitable share because, as she testified, Defendant was lazy and did odd jobs. Plaintiff and Defendant were married on August 28, 1993. Both Plaintiff and Defendant are 54 years old. Plaintiff is a microbiologist and Defendant is a handyman contractor. Plaintiff is the monied spouse. However, the parties lived a shared economic partnership consisting of Plaintiff working at her full time employment as a microbiologist and Defendant taking care of the marital home, caring for the parties' child, finding and fixing real property for investment. He was a "fixer upper" involved with searching for buildings and renovating them for resale on the real estate market. The martial residence and all real property were acquired during the marriage. The properties were renovated and resold on the market by Defendant.The marital residence was converted by Defendant from a one level ranch home into a three level bungalow home with a rental unit.
Plaintiff testified she provided 80% of the financial contribution and does not consider Defendant's non-economic contribution as marital contribution. The parties lived together three or four years prior to marriage and were married August 28, 1993. Prior to and throughout the marriage, Defendant's work pattern remained the same. Defendant has always sporadically worked as a handy person fixing people's homes, bathrooms, kitchens, plumbing, tiling and electrical repairs. Defendants' first official job was in 2001. By both parties' testimony, Defendant's highest annual income throughout the marriage was $18,570.00.Notably, both sides agree that throughout the marriage they filed joint tax returns and never reported any income for Defendant. By Plaintiff's own testimony, she agreed that the marital lifestyle was built on Plaintiff working professionally as a microbiologist and Defendant as a handyman. Defendant principally did the buying, renovating and selling of investment properties. The economic partnership was Plaintiff money and Defendant's labor. All income acquired during the marriage came from Plaintiff's income, rental from investment properties and Defendant's handyman work which were pooled toward in the parties' real estate investments.Although Plaintiff stayed steadfast with her belief that her income was the sole source of the parties' investments, the evidence show that Defendant's non-economic contribution significantly improved the parties' lavish lifestyle and helped fostered Plaintiff's successful promotion. "

Also:

"Plaintiff's employment required her to work outside of the home traveling nationally and internationally as a microbiologist to ensure food quality and safety. Defendant was the stay at home parent caring for the parties' son, fixing their properties and doing handyman odd jobs. In addition, Defendant volunteered at their son's school. Plaintiff testified that Defendant was lazy and did not fed or cared for their son. Assuming this was credible, which this Court does not find, Plaintiff never altered her work pattern to care and feed their child. She continued to travel being away from the home for long periods to enhance her career. Admittedly, their child did receive substantial love and care from both parents and there is no evidence that the child was not cared for by Defendant."

Now read the decision:

Morille-Hinds v Hinds
2014 NY Slip Op 50269(U) [42 Misc 3d 1230(A)]
Decided on January 31, 2014
Supreme Court, Queens County

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