Connecticut Law Tribune Litigator of the Year Award

Family law isn’t about winning or tearing down your opponent. It’s about coming to a fair and reasonable agreement so that both parties and their families can move forward. It’s about finding the best way to rebuild lives that have been ripped apart.

Read the complete article from the Connecticut Law Tribune.

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Family Law: To Prenup Or Not To Prenup

Unfortunately, in today’s world with regard to financial matters in marriages and relationships we all too frequently see deception, information withholding and lies. I can only hope the information in this article will be helpful to you and your clients so that they too can get to the heart of the matter.

Despite the rapid evolution of cultural mores and economic circumstances, many people have emotional resistance to signing a prenup.

One tool for combating this unscrupulous aspect of human nature can be a prenuptial (prenup) agreement, since a prenup arguably calls for “full” disclosure of financial information. “Full” is in quotations marks because the courts have waffled on what constitutes full disclosure. It can be fuzzy. The bottom line is that going through the exercise of negotiating a prenup may give a client more information than they would otherwise obtain in the blush of love and romance.

In Connecticut, McHugh V. McHugh, is the seminal case on prenuptial agreements. It is important to have an experienced family lawyer advise a client about the criteria considered for whether a prenup will be enforceable upon the dissolution of a marriage based upon the relevant case law and facts.

Since every union is unique, one must consider if a prenup is advantageous to their marital relationship. A prenuptial agreement is a contract created to represent the interests of two individuals who plan to marry. The prenup should be tailored to reflect the interests and concerns of both parties. It may include the rights and responsibilities of each individual
during the marital relationship or if it ends in divorce or death.

Download the complete article, reprinted with permission from the Connecticut Law Tribune.

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Planning For Smart Structured Settlements In Divorce

Structured settlements in divorce are a tricky business. They require a high level of planning and significant forethought in order to be successful. At their best, structured settlements can provide a continuous source of income, address liquidity issues of the moneyed spouse, and provide financial security over time. At their worst, they can extend conflicts into the future with disastrous consequences for the spouse who is relying on the settlement in order to meet basic needs.

A structured settlement replaces one lump payment with smaller payouts over time — it’s a concept frequently used in workers’ compensation or tort cases, but more often, these types of settlements are also being used in divorces. It sounds like a positive solution, but I cannot tell you how many times I have observed the many ways that structured settlements have failed because of a lack of penalties and controls built into the final agreement.

One common pitfall of structured settlements is simple naiveté.

Take the case of Jenna, a woman who is self-employed in the high-powered financial services industry and divorced from her ex-spouse Andy, a stay-at-home dad*. While the couple were married, he supported her through business school, helped her start their business, and when they decided to have children, he promised her that he would stop working and stay at home.

Shortly after their second child was born, Jenna began an affair with the pool boy and later, the CFO of her (their) company. When Andy discovered her infidelity, she promised to bury him if he divorced her and threatened him with the loss of his lifestyle.

Their structured settlement included a property payout over eight years, alimony with a cost of living increase each year, and a share of the profits from her business. For this stay-at-home dad, however, nothing went according to plan.

Download the complete article, reprinted with permission from the Connecticut Law Tribune.

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