DEPRESSION & AWARD OF ALIMONY

The DC Court of Appeals in Lake v. Lake, focused on two specific elements in award of alimony dispute: The metal health influence over earning capacity, and The expected future investment income. Generally, the trial court has sole discretion in awarding alimony and as such balances, inter alia, the following elements among parties in awarding alimony to one side or the other: The duration of the marriage, The ages and health of the parties, Their respective financial positions, both past and prospective, Property ownership, The needs of the requesting spouse and the other spouse’s ability to contribute thereto, and The
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CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS & MARTIAL PROPERTY

The Court of Appeals in Araya v. Keleta, expanded the meaning of the marital property in the context of Civil Protection Orders and related filings. In the case, wife-Keleta had filed a petition against husband-Araya alleging physical abuse and requesting a stay away order from the husband and from the marital home, which the trial court granted. On Appeal, Araya argued that as the home in question was not in fact a martial property, the judicial officer was precluded from ordering him to stay away from such dwelling.  In short, the judicial officer had no authority to preclude him from
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ALIMONY & CHILD SUPPORT: IMPUTED INCOME: DIVORCE

The DC Court of Appeals in Saxon v. Zirkle, imputed income during the divorce proceedings for voluntary unemployment. Specifically, the trial court had granted parties absolute divorce while denying Ms. Saxon’s request for alimony and instead imputed income on her for unemployment, awarded the parties joint legal custody of their child, as well as modified Mr. Zirkle’s child-support obligations based on the imputed income. On appeal, Saxon challenged to the trial court’s decision to impute $24,000 in income to her in determining alimony and child support calculations. The issue of imputation of income arose during the alimony proceedings.  Based on
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PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION IN LIEU OF ALIMONY HELD TO BE VALID

In Sudderth v. Sudderth, the DC Court of Appeals addressed whether it was appropriate to award property in lieu of alimony. On appeal, Mrs. Sudderth’s claimed that the trial court had erred in distributing marital property in lieu of alimony without first calculating the amount and duration of alimony to be distributed. In short, the Court of Appeals held that there are no restraints on the trial court’s ability to award marital property in lieu of alimony, and also it is not an abuse of discretion when a trial court denies a request for alimony and yet awards marital property. Thus,
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DISSIPATED AND SPENT MARTIAL PROPERTY STILL SUBJECT TO EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS

The Court of Appeals in Herron v. Johnson, expounded on the equitable distribution of marital property that has been dissipated. Dissipation of martial property is generally defined as where one spouse uses marital property for his own benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown. Here, the trial court had determined that the pension funds accumulated during the marriage and used by one spouse and spent and dissipated during the marriage is no longer a property for the court to factor in with regards to the equitable distribution
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COMMINGLED PROPERTY DEEMED TO BE A MARITAL PROPERTY

The Court of Appeals in Araya v. Keleta, specifically addressed the issue of commingled property during the marriage as well as addressing child custody, support and alimony. After a five-year marriage, husband filed for divorce seeking physical custody of their three children as well as seeking distribution of marital assets and dispensing of alimony. The trial court after extensive litigation awarded physical custody to the mother with the father having a visitation schedule, as well as distributing the marital home in its entirety to the wife and awarding significant alimony and child support to the wife. The Court of Appeals
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EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY AFTER SEPARATION: LEGAL CRITERIA

The DC Court of Appeals in Gail v. Sherman, specifically addressed division of property created after separation and the formula used by the court to equitably distribute such property. Sherman had appealed the trial court decision granting her a sum of $40,000 for her equitable portion of the value of AutoBody that her husband Sherman had created after the couple had separated. Factually, parties had a business jointly owned and operated during their marriage called FuelLine and after separation both had agreed and via an agreement to bring that business to closure.   Sherman thereafter started a new similar business referred
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DIVISION OF PROPERTY AND RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT: DIVORCE

The DC Court of Appeals in ABULQASIM v. MAHMOUD, reviewed the lower court decision pertaining to appellant’s claim that the trial court: Lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the matter because neither party had been a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia for at least six months prior to appellant’s filing of the divorce action; Abused discretion in admitting hearsay testimony regarding an email, not introduced into evidence, that alleged appellant was having an extramarital affair; and Erred in including a number of items appellant asserts were his separate property in the distribution of marital property. Factually, appellant Abulqsim sought
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DC DIVORCE DURING THE PANDEMIC : ABC7 INTERVIEW

Divorce during COVID: D.C. attorneys see uptick in cases of couples wanting to separate by Daniel Miller, ABC7 Saturday, October 17th 2020 AA FILE PHOTO: The D.C. area has seen a rise in divorce cases during COVID-19 as local attorneys share their legal expertise on factors that lead couples to opt for separation. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) WASHINGTON (ABC7) — The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a tremendous amount of stress on married couples in the D.C. area as they attempt to adapt to this new normal. Isolation, stress, and balancing work, finances, and family has become so overwhelming for some that
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INTENT TO ASSAULT STATUTE DECONSTRUCTED: DC COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Powell v. U.S., decided on October 1, 2020, deconstructed the intent-to-frighten assault statute in reversing the appellant’s conviction. Factually, the appellant has kicked a moving police car and had approached the police officer generally in a menacing manner. The trial court held: the appellant displayed kind of intimidating approach, had a hostile look to her as she approached the Officers and while the defendant was not an exaggerated threat — under the totality of the circumstances she was reasonably threatening and the Officers were reasonably afraid under all those circumstances. In order to prove intent-to-frighten
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