Tuesday, August 1, 2017

22 YEAR MARRIAGE, 5 YEAR DIVORCE, 6 MORE YEARS OF MAINTENANCE



Galanopoulos v Galanopoulos, 2017 NY Slip Op 05807, Decided on July 26, 2017,Appellate Division, Second Department:

"The parties were married on May 6, 1990, and are the parents of two emancipated children. During the marriage, the plaintiff was the primary caregiver for the children and a homemaker. The defendant owned a restaurant in Manhattan. In 2012, after 22 years of marriage, the plaintiff commenced this action for a divorce and ancillary relief. A nonjury trial was held on the issues of equitable distribution of the marital property and maintenance. The Supreme Court issued a decision after trial, and subsequently a judgment, inter alia, awarding the plaintiff the marital residence, with a credit to the defendant in the amount of $315,000, and maintenance in the amount of $5,000 per month from December 1, 2014, until November 1, 2017, then $4,000 per month until November 1, 2020, and then $3,000 per month until October 31, 2023. The plaintiff was also awarded the total sum of $514,564, representing her equitable share of numerous real estate investment properties located in New Jersey, including the sum of $83,500, representing one-half of the value of funds the defendant had withdrawn from an account in his name with Eurobank. The defendant appeals, as limited by his notice of appeal, from stated portions of the judgment of divorce.

"[T]he amount and duration of maintenance is a matter committed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and every case must be determined on its own unique facts" (Repetti v Repetti, 147 AD3d 1094, 1096 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Kaprov v Stalinsky, 145 AD3d 869, 874). "The factors to consider in awarding maintenance include the standard of living of the parties during the marriage, the income and property of the parties, the distribution of marital property, the duration of the marriage, the health of the parties, the present and future earning capacity of both parties, the ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting, and the reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance'" (Horn v Horn, 145 AD3d 666, 668, quoting Kret v Kret, 222 AD2d 412, 412). "The overriding purpose of a maintenance award is to give the spouse economic independence, and it should be awarded for a duration that would provide the recipient with enough time to become self-supporting" (Sansone v Sansone, 144 AD3d 885, 886 [internal quotation marks omitted]). Considering the relevant factors, in this case, the amount and duration of the maintenance award was a provident exercise of discretion (see Ralis v Ralis, 146 AD3d 831, 833; Bogenschultz v Green, 144 AD3d 958, 959; Maddaloni v Maddaloni, 142 AD3d 646, 654; Perdios v Perdios, 135 AD3d 840, 842)."

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