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FAMILY LAW

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Family law is often a particularly emotional and difficult area of the law.  The Wallman Law Firm has many years experience handling family disputes.  They generally concern dissolution of marriage, custody and enforcement of divorce decrees.

In Connecticut, the allocation of assets to the parties upon the dissolution of a marriage is based upon what the Court to determines to be equitable, not a percentage calculation that is set in advance,. In deciding the division of assets, the court is required to evaluate.  certain factors: the length of the marriage, the causes for the dissolution of the marriage, each parties’ age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. The court is also required to consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates.the.  In addition, with some exceptions, in Connecticut virtually all assets owned by the parties at the time of the dissolution of the marriage are considered “marital assets” regardless of where they originated.  For example, assets belonging to a particular party prior to the marriage become “marital assets” upon marriage, notwithstanding that a court will usually consider the source of the assets when distributing them.

In addition, the Court may, in its discretion, make an award of alimony to either party (husband or wife) based upon factors similar to those for the division of assets.

The function of a lawyer and the court in a dissolution of marriage action are first to arrive at temporary orders that govern the parties’ conduct while the dissolution is pending, then to determine what precise assets are marital assets and to determine their value.  While virtually all divorces in Connecticut are “no fault” divorces, the court will take into account fault factors such as adultery or abuse in determining how to distribute the marital assets to each party.  In addition, dissolution actions also concern issues of custody and parenting plans for minor children.  The “best interests of the child” is the primary rule by which custody and parenting are ordered by the courts and it is generally most desirable for both parents to remain involved in the childrens’ lives both during and after the marriage is dissolved.  Finally, the parties will attempt to resolve the sometimes-difficult issue of how to divide the marital assets and the amount and length of such financial obligations as alimony, child support and the costs of college.  While a skillful ability to reach a reasonable consensus between the parties is essential, some case require a trial whereby the court itself decides all or most of the issues of the case.  This requires experienced trial work and competent presentation of evidence on behalf of the client.

It is also not uncommon for a party to fail to pay what he or she is obligated to pay pursuant to a divorce decree. In some instances, the refusal is willful and the refusing party is financially able to pay.  In other instances, the failure to pay is not willful because the refusing party is financially unable to make payment.  Depending on the circumstances,  the consequences of non payment may be very different.  The Wallman Law Firm has successfully  prosecuted actions to collect back due sums, and also successfully defended such actions when non-payment has been determined to be not willful.

The Wallman Law Firm has also handled unusually difficult custody cases, including a case that lasted 12 years in which an 11 month old child was abducted by his father and ultimately recovered 11 years later.  The father was convicted and spent several years in jail during which time our client dealt with the difficult task of establishing a relationship with her son after such an ordeal.  This case received national attention.

The Wallman Firm is conveniently located in Stamford and serves clients throughout Connecticut, including the towns of Darien, Greenwich, Stanford and New Canaan.