15-Year Marriage Ends in Divorce: Contest Over Property Division and Support; Husband Unreasonably Delays Case, and Ordered by Court to Pay $81,746 to Client for Attorney Fees and Costs

Family LawWe represented the wife in this divorce case. The husband was a successful contractor, and the parties had managed to accumulate a substantial amount of wealth during their 15-year marriage. The parties had two children. The husband filed the divorce petition in 1996. Following the filing of the petition, and with court supervision, the parties sold all of the real property that they owned, and divided the proceeds. However, division of the remaining marital assets was made difficult by the husband’s consistent pattern of withholding financial information, understating his assets and income, and collusion with members of his family and others in financial transactions to limit his financial exposure in the case.

The case was tried to a superior court judge in the fall of 2000. The primary issues at trial concerned property division and support, in that our client had been awarded custody of the children prior to trial. Based on the evidence presented by the parties during the trial, the court awarded the wife one-half of the construction business, child support arrearages in the amount of $10,439, and current child support based on the guidelines. The court found that the husband had unreasonably delayed and made complex the litigation of the case. Accordingly, the court ordered the husband to pay all of our client’s attorney fees and costs in the amount of $81,746.

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