Connecticut does not use a formula, or “guideline” approach to alimony. Instead Connecticut law provides for statutory factors, that must be considered, when awarding or modifying alimony. After considering the criteria below, governing Connecticut alimony, do you think a formulaic / guideline approach would be beneficial? Or do you support the flexibility of the current system?
Connecticut’s flexible alimony criteria:
“In general the same sorts of [criteria] are relevant in deciding whether the decree may be modified as are relevant in making the initial award of alimony. They have chiefly to do with the needs and financial resources of the parties . . . More specifically, these criteria, outlined in General Statutes 46b-82, require the court to consider the needs and financial resources of each of the parties and their children, as well as such factors as the causes for the dissolution of the marriage and the age, health, station, occupation, employability and amount and sources of income of the parties. (Citations omitted; quotations omitted.) Borkowski v. Borkowski, 228 Conn. 729, 738, 638 A.2d 1060 (1994).
“Court decisions construing the alimony and property division statutes emphasize the responsibility of the trial court to consider all of the evidence, weigh all of the statutory factors, and then to place the weight on each factor that the court deems most fair and appropriate under the particular circumstances of each case. “While the trial court must consider the delineated statutory criteria, no single criterion is preferred over the others, and the court is accorded wide latitude in varying the weight placed upon each item under the peculiar circumstances of each case.” Carpenter v. Carpenter, 188 Conn. 736, 740-41, 453 A.2d 1151 (1982). The court is not obligated to make express findings on each and “is not required to give equal weight to each of the specified criteria it considers in determining its award, nor is any single criterion preferred over the others.” Graham v. Graham, 25 Conn.App. 41, 45, 592 A.2d 424 (1991). The weight to place on each factor depends on the circumstances of each case. (Citation omitted.) Moreover, the statutory factors for awarding alimony or assigning property are not exclusive, and the court may consider other equitable factors in either. Smith v. Smith, 249 Conn. 265, 284, 752 A.2d 1023 (1999). Robinson v. Robinson, 187 Conn. 70, 72, 444 A.2d 234 (1982). Werkhoven v. Werkhoven, No. FA094011324S (Feb. 17, 2011) (Frazzini, J.)