Family Law Results
Type of case: Post-divorce appeal on modification of spousal maintenance (also called alimony).
My role: I represented the ex-wife on appeal who was defending a favorable post-divorce ruling that gave her permanent spousal maintenance.
At issue: My client had been awarded permanent spousal maintenance after a 26 year marriage to a pilot of a major airline. The ex-husband paying my client spousal maintenance brought a motion to lower his monthly payments, and to require my client to refund what he claimed was over-payment of spousal maintenance. The ex-husband also argued my client had committed fraud on the court at the time of the divorce.
My client had not worked during most of a 26 year marriage, and had raised two children and taken care of the marital household to allow her ex-husband to extensively travel for work. The couple enjoyed a substantial standard of living, and my client was not able to rejoin the work force and earn at the same standard of living after staying at home for many years. My client also had physical issues that prevented her from being fully employed.
The ex-husband argued on post-trial motions and appeal that he was hampered by monthly spousal maintenance payments. I was able to point out the fault in the ex-husband’s arguments on appeal.
Ex-husband claimed he had experienced stagnation in pay, but failed to account for years of pay increases which preceded any pay cuts. Ironically the ex-husband claimed that inflation lowered his purchasing power, while not accounting for how inflation impacted my client.
I was also able to point out that ex-husband thought he should have some more “toys”, such as a boat or private plan. Additionally, ex-husband’s travel for pleasure nearly doubled after the divorce, and included international destinations and a nudist colony.
Results: I was successful and my client won the appeal. My client was awarded the same amount of life-time spousal maintenance. This also defeated the ex-husbands arguments for a refund and for fraud on the court.
Type of case: Dissolution of marriage trial on contested child custody and property division.
My role: I was attorney for the ex-husband at trial.
At issue: My client was on parole and re-entering the workforce after reforming himself during time in federal prison for drug charges. My client had documentation supporting his reformation, and was fighting for custody of his three children, his homestead, and some marital assets.
There were restraining orders for both my client and the ex-wife. The ex-wife attempted to claim the children were not my client’s during pre-trial hearings, and paternity had to be established. Ex-wife went through two lawyers during the litigation of this case which culminated in a trial.
We were able to prove how my client had turned his life around and was working to put his children through a private preparatory school. Also, we were able to show how my client was financially responsible and not only would be able to sustain marital assets, but it was necessary he be awarded some of those assets to pay down marital debt.
Results: After trial my client was awarded sole physical custody of all three children, as well as the homestead and vehicles. My client’s award of the homestead also granted him an opportunity to apply the equity of the homestead against debts awarded to his ex-wife.
Type of case: Dissolution of marriage appeal on contested child custody and property division.
My role: I was attorney for the Respondent on Appeal.
At issue: My client was an ex-husband who won physical custody of a special needs child, as well as a 17 year old daughter that did not want to live with my client. My client also was awarded the homestead, various assets, vehicles, and his wife’s pension in addition to his own pension.
This appeal covered a five day trial, numerous exhibits and witnesses. Both spouses accused the other of not being the best parent, and both fought over all of the assets.
I was able to argue that although the property settlement was very favorable to my client, the marital debt actually made this a negative asset divorce. When factoring in the ex-wife’s financial conduct during the marriage, my client needed the extra assets to protect what was left in the marital estate.
I was also able to argue that although the 17 year old daughter wanted to live with the ex-wife, her preference was not reasonable when looking at the circumstances surrounding the ex-wife’s alienation of the child’s affections. My client also tremendously increased his parenting efforts when it was discovered his youngest daughter had special needs, and I was able to argue that the ex-wife had actually decreased her parenting efforts.
Results: Respondent’s favorable trial outcome was affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Minnesota Supreme Court also ruled in our favor against wife’s request for additional review.
Type of case: Termination of Parental Rights.
My role: I was the attorney for the Department of Human Services.
At issue: The mother contested terminating her parental rights. The father consented to the termination and cooperated with the case. Many expert witnesses, therapists, counselors, and social workers testified in this case.
This trial lasted many days, and detailed nearly two years of extensive work with the child’s mother on a case plan. Evidentiary issues that were fought included a videotape of the mother appearing on an episode of the “Ricki Lake Show”. Numerous forms of documentation were utilized to show that the best interest of the child would be served by terminating the mother’s parental rights.
Results: I was successful at trial in obtaining a termination of the mother’s parental rights. The termination of parental rights was upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.