The Nature of Alimony In Connecticut

By Edward Jurkiewicz
In February 26, 2015
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“A dream to some…a nightmare to others.” Thus spoke Merlin to Arthur in John Boorman’s classic 1981 film Excalibur.

And so it is with alimony in Connecticut divorce cases. It is the perceived bane of the higher-earning or moneyed spouse. It is sometimes a goal of the other spouse. At the start of a case, both want tea-leaf predictions about the amount of their exposure or the amount of their possible award, as the case may be. Although certain norms may apply, the task of making such predictions is complicated by the fact that there is no formula for alimony in Connecticut.

But what is alimony?

In a presentation given at last summer’s Connecticut Legal Conference, Attorney Aaron P. Wenzloff summarized his historical research which identified the following strains of judicial thought:

“Loss theory” is the idea that alimony should be used to put the parties back in the financial positions they were in prior to the marriage. It seems to me that this might be most applicable to marriages of short duration.

“Gain theory” seeks to realize the legitimate financial expectations of the parties. Marriage as a contract.

“Contribution theory” seeks to return the contribution of one party to the marriage. This is epitomized by the classic situation where the high-earning spouse has accumulated most of the wealth, while the other spouse has been a stay-at-home parent.

In reported decisions, judges often do not articulate the basis for an alimony award. Every case is fact-specific, but a close reading of the case will usually reveal one or more of the above ideas underpinning the judge’s reasoning….Where there is an award. Wenzloff pointed out that, statistically, alimony is only awarded in about 28% of divorce cases.

Please see my blog on some other interesting statistics from the same presentation at

To learn more about the divorce process, please visit my website at, or call me at (860) 299-6263 to schedule a consultation.

Hartford area bankruptcy attorney and divorce lawyer Edward P. Jurkiewicz has over 20 years of experience representing clients. Our firm represents debtors and creditors and handles both relatively simple divorces and bankruptcies and more complex litigation matters. With this depth of experience, our firm is able to anticipate and prepare for any potential issues that could arise in your bankruptcy, divorce or family matter.

CONTACT US TODAY AT 860-299-6263