Warren County Husband's Share of Assets Reduced by $99,000 By Gordon, Tepper, DeCoursey on September 16, 2019

In this Third Department case out of Warren County, Spinelli v. Spinelli, the Husband transferred, without the Wife’s knowledge, all of the funds from the family business into a new bank account under his exclusive control. He then transferred all of the business assets to a new limited liability company, also without the Wife’s knowledge or consent.

The Court found that the Husband’s “ongoing pattern of conversion of marital assets,  refusal to contribute to marital debt and continuous wasteful dissipation of marital assets” resulted in the Husband reaping all of the benefits of the business while burdening the Wife with much of the debt. For that reason, the Court ordered that the Husband pay all of the $77,000 of outstanding debt on two apartment buildings, which is $38,500 more than his 50/50 share of the debt. The Court also reduced the Husband’s share of the Wife’s retirement accounts to 25%, rather than 50%. This allocation cost the Husband an additional $60,375.75. These two components of the equitable distribution award penalized the Husband nearly $99,000.

The Court had also ordered the Husband to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the Wife and children. Because the Husband was 74 years old at the date of the judgment of divorce and he had let his $500,000 life insurance policy lapse, it was unlikely that the he could comply with the Court’s order to provide the required life insurance coverage. As a result, the Court ordered the Husband to pay the Wife the equivalent of the cash value of the lapsed policy plus the premiums that would have been due on the $500,000 policy. Altogether, this totaled $126,764.80.

When divorcing spouses own a family business, it is important to secure the assistance of experienced legal counsel with financial expertise to ensure that marital assets are distributed fairly. The attorneys at Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP have the experience to assist in divorces with complex financial issues.

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