Appellate Court Rules Abuse In Recent “Double Dip” Case

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A recent decision in the Connecticut appellate court found the trial court “double dipped” when it divided the marital assets and calculated spousal support in the case Oudheusden v. Oudheusden. A double dip occurs when the same income or cash flow is used twice – once as an asset under equitable distribution of marital property and, again, in the calculation of spousal support.

The trial court in this case awarded Plaintiff 50% of the fair market value of the Defendant’s businesses and $18,000 per month in lifetime alimony. However, Defendant’s businesses provided the stream of income which was to be used to pay the alimony award. This income was included in the fair market value of the business. This double dip resulted in Defendant being left without resources to comply with the court’s orders and no other assets available to satisfy all of the court-ordered payments.

The opinion noted, “A finding of abuse of discretion in making financial awards in marital dissolution cases is very unusual. Nevertheless, we are compelled to conclude that this is one of those rare cases because the court effectively divested the defendant of any means with which to pay the court-ordered obligations.”