In an extraordinary case from Nassau County, Justice Jeffrey A. Goodstein made abundantly clear that he would deviate from the temporary support standards to permit the wife and children of an enormously wealthy husband to maintain the pre-separation standard of living they had enjoyed which included three residences, extravagant vacations all over the world, flowers for their several homes costing $500 a week, a private jet contract costing over $500,00 a year, and in addition between $2,500 to $5,000 per hour when flying on the jet, membership at several elite country clubs, and otherwise had no limitations to their spending. Their Ferrari. Porsche , and four other vehicles were bought for cash and cost approximately $660,000. Before the divorce action was commenced, the wife had removed $2 million dollars from a joint checking account which the husband alleged should be used for her support and the support of the children during the pendency of the case.
Based upon this lavish spending history, and the fact that the husband was a successful real estate investor who used the proceeds of real estate loan and sales of property to maintain the family’s spending habits and did not take a weekly salary, the court awarded her $30,000 per month in direct support payments, $20,000 per month for credit card expenditures, and directed the husband to pay all expenses for their three residences, the cars, and other incidentals that he agreed to pay. The total award was well over a million dollars a year. Interestingly, the court did not require the wife to use any of the $2 million dollars that she removed from the joint bank account, because half of these monies would be awarded to her as part of her distributed award for equitable distribution and he felt should not be used to offset support.
What is to be learned from this case is that the papers submitted covered every expenditures of the wife and had receipts for all large expenditures, the credit card and bank statements of the husband as well as other computer generated documents so that the court had sufficient evidence before it to justify the award that it made. This is one of the first cases to totally document the expenditures of the family. Without such proof, and the mere statements of the wife made upon affidavit of the purported life style of the family, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the court to justify such a huge award. The court kept the financial status quo, and permitted the family to enjoy their previous life style which was developed over the many years of marriage.
The reader is recommended to go online and obtain the decision of the Nassau County Supreme Court in Westerich v. Westerich to understand the full extent of the court’s decision and order. When you consult an attorney make sure he or she has read this case to see whether it can be used to support your application for temporary support as well as child support.