In Uncategorized on 03/11/2021 at 16:01

No, not a misprint for Sir Peter Shaffer’s 1958 London hit, but Debra L. Zalk Spitulnik, Petitioner and Charles A. Spitulnik, Intervenor, Docket No. 21286-18L, filed 3/11/21, bring back theatrical recollections. See my blogpost “Now, Voyager,” 11/26/19, where Judge David Gustafson obligingly gave Deb & Chas a blueprint for the subsequent IA.

Deb & Chas forwent the IA route. Deb files for innocent spousery. Now Judge Emin (“Eminent”) Toro has the case, but Deb fares no better.

Judge Eminent Toro delivers an off-the-bencher. Although everyone admits Deb was in very poor health during the years at issue, the high-priced private school whereat she taught jumped through clichés to keep Deb on the roster, assigning her aides, interns, limiting hours, sending her home early, and limiting her to teaching lower grades. She was as eminent in her field as Judge Toro.

Chas was also solicitous to his spouse of 46 (count ’em, 46) years and counting. He insured his life for $1 million and Deb was beneficiary. Deb also got a brand-new Volvo when she felt unsafe in her three-year old CRV. And Deb & Chas were a wee bit casual with their tax compliance over the last thirteen (count ’em, thirteen) years. See the table at p. 11 of the transcript.

“Also recently, Mrs. Spitulnik traded in some family jewelry and paid more than $500 to buy gold and diamond necklaces for herself, her daughter, and her daughter-in-law.” Transcript, at p. 23.

While Deb’s income alone just ducks under the 250% of poverty, she’s married to lawyer Chas. “… when added to Mr. Spitulnik’s annual income of $241,240, the couple’s combined earnings of $272,538 far exceed 250% of the applicable Federal poverty guidelines for a household of two ($17,240 x 250% = $43,100). A review of the Spitulniks’ 2019 Federal income tax return leads to the same conclusion, as their adjusted gross income for the year was approximately $432,000.” Transcript, at pp. 18-19. (Citation omitted).

Deb also doesn’t help her cause on the stand. “Indeed, Mrs. Spitulnik stated repeatedly at trial that her husband’s top priority is and has always been to ensure her welfare. Consistent with the record and her statements, we conclude that nonpayment of the Spitulniks’ tax liability afforded significant benefits to Mrs. Spitulnik beyond normal support, and therefore that this factor weighs against relief.” Transcript, at pp. 23-24.

Taishoff says that factor plus the Volvo and the gold and diamond necklaces play a six-figure exercise on Deb’s case.

At least Deb & Chas saved the legal fees.


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