Alimony, Short For “All The Money”

Zink v. Zink, 2016 VT 46

By Amy E. Davis

Who doesn’t love a good discussion of alimony, or, as we in Vermont call it, “spousal maintenance”? Spousal maintenance is money you pay your ex-spouse so she (or he) can continue on in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. It’s a hot topic for us divorce attorneys, and is the focus of this case as well.

Husband and Wife divorced in 2007 and agreed that Husband would pay Wife $1800 per month permanently (that means forever). In January 2015, Wife filed a motion for contempt because Husband had not paid her and said he was no longer going to pay her. Husband opposed the motion and filed his own to modify his monthly obligation claiming that he could no longer pay the court-ordered amount of $1800, and that since the final divorce, the parties had agreed to reduce the payments. Husband also argued that both parties’ finances had changed since the divorce.

The lower court found the following: Husband is a self-employed truck driver, and when the parties’ divorced, he lived in his truck and had minimal expenses. Husband remarried and moved in with his new wife. Husband and his new wife, with their combined incomes, can meet their basic needs and have about $250.00 left over each week. Husband also told the court that he did not understand what “permanent” mean, and he thought he was just trying to keep Wife, who was unemployed at the time of the divorce, in their condominium. Since the divorce, Wife sold the condominium, got a job with the University of Vermont, receives retirement funds monthly, and money from Social Security Income monthly.

Husband and Wife often talked about reducing the amount of the monthly alimony payments over the years. Wife suggested lowering the payments because she felt that if she insisted on the full amount, Husband would not pay her anything. The trial court found there was never an enforceable agreement, and at the most, Wife exercised forbearance.

The court found no “real, substantial, and unanticipated change of circumstances” to warrant modification. The court reasoned that one could anticipate that Husband would remarry and move in with his new spouse, thereby increasing housing expenses. Also, one could anticipate that the wife would move from the condo and get a job. The court also recognized that $1800 per month was excessive, but then again, it was excessive when he agreed to it in 2007 as well. The court ordered Husband to pay $42,542 in maintenance arrears, but denied Wife’s motion for contempt and attorneys fees because Husband did not have the present ability to pay either the arrearages or the $1800 monthly obligation.

Husband appeals arguing that the court erred in finding no change of circumstances sufficient to consider modifying the order, and it also erred in concluding the parties’ agreements did not amount to a modification. The SCOV reviews looking for clearly erroneous findings of fact.

Under this statute, a court may modify a spousal maintenance award only upon a showing of a real, substantial, and unanticipated change of circumstances. The SCOV explains that “unanticipated” must be interpreted by reviewing the facts and circumstances underlying the divorce order to determine whether these conditions were taken into account in establishing the original maintenance order. If they were taken into account, then they were anticipated. If not, then the condition is unanticipated. When it comes to remarriage, the SCOV notes that remarriage is possible for a divorced person, but it still may constitute a change of circumstances depending on its effect on the party’s financial security. Even if the maintenance award contains a provision regarding remarriage (making it clearly anticipated), modification might be appropriate anyway.

The SCOV concludes that the trial court’s view of “changed circumstances” was overly narrow, and not reflected in Vermont’s case law. It’s always within the realm of possibility that a party might remarry, take or lose a job, or incur increased expenses, but it doesn’t necessarily mean those changes are unanticipated.

The question is whether Husband’s move into the home, Wife’s move out of the condo, and Wife’s new job, departed substantially from the assumptions in the stipulated order. The SCOV finds that the evidence supported an unanticipated change of circumstances, and because the trial court used an incorrect standard, reverses and remands on those grounds. The SCOV also gives further instruction that the trial court needs to consider the parties’ economic circumstances at the time of the final divorce order as compared to their economic circumstances at the time of the hearing.

In regards to arrearages, Husband argues that Wife agreed to accept lesser amounts over the years, and those amounts should be enforced, not the full $1800. Wife argues that Husband is trying to modify his obligation retroactively. The SCOV notes that the effective date of a court’s modification cannot predate the date of the motion to modify. Thus, the SCOV rejects Husband’s argument that the parties modified the existing court order by agreement. However, the SCOV notes that Husband’s argument is that Wife agreed to accept reduced payments in full satisfaction, thereby forfeiting her right to retroactive payments. To remedy this, the SCOV directs the trial court to address the question of “whether, when, and to what extent, wife may have forfeited her right to retroactive payments” as a result of agreement, waiver, or equitable estoppel.


  1. Divorce Dictatorship
    There are two principals in Vermont Law that effectively give judges supreme dictatorial authority over the lives of alimony payers. Firstly, the law grants the judge “Broad discretionary powers” to decide an equitable settlement, which in practice means that as long as various factors are “considered”, almost any outcome, however biased, is binding and effectively not appealable. Secondly, spousal support is awarded, often permanently, and requests for modifications only considered due to “real, substantial, and unanticipated change of circumstances”. This case illustrates the opportunity for extreme exploitation of this rule. Earning power often diminishes with age, illness, job loss, retirement, and of course death, but all have been argued as “anticipated”. Meanwhile the spouse enjoying a comfortable lifestyle can share their benefits with new lovers without pressure to work or mitigate the pain inflicted upon the payer who now lives in “anticipated” poverty.

  2. If you need to hire a real hacker to remotely monitor / hack your partner's phone, exchange or recover your stolen bitcoin, or hack any database with guaranteed privacy, contact or whatsapp: +1 3478577580 , they are efficient and confidential.

  3. Please visit
    i am here to give testimony on how this powerful spell caster called Dr Adoda helped me to fix my relationship. i was heartbroken when my fiancee told me he is no longer interested in marrying me because he was having an affair with the other woman where he work. I cried and sobbed every day, until it got so bad that I reached out to the Internet for help, that was when i read a review about the great work of Dr Adoda, then i contacted him for help to get my lover back, he helped me cast a powerful (reconciliation love spell) and to my greatest surprise after 48 hours of doing the love spell my Fiancee came back on his knees begging me to forgive him We are now happily married and all thanks goes to Dr Adoda Wonders for helping me save my relationship you can contact Dr Adoda through his email address: or WHATSAPP him on+2348112825421

  4. I can’t believe that with just a contact to Dr. Todd, I got my ex husband back. I had read some stuff about Manifest Temple before i contacted him but i didn’t know that all those stuff were so accurate until i got my husband back, After getting my ex husband back i taught it wise to share my testimony with everyone on this website that how Dr. Todd was able to get my husband back with his powerful reunion love spell. That rebuild my broken marriage. All my hope has been fully restored and am happy to share my experience to everyone. Do feel free to Contact Dr. Todd via email if having any challenge with marriage or relationship at: ( I so much believe he can also help out with his power.

  5. I am so happy to share this fantastic testimony of mine. My name is Enora Lucas I have my boyfriend back in my life with the help of Dr Isikolo. He said sorry 48 hours after the spell was created. He said he realised that he never really wanted to break up he could not handle emotional baggage I was carrying around all the time. He said that he thought he was the negative influence on my life and thought it best to leave. He said it was hard that I kept talking about the past all the time. We have both forgiven each other. I have money in my pocket that is my own at last. (My compensation cheque came through I was told it was months away. I am living proof of what Dr Isikolo can do. I thank you so much Dr Isikolo for the wonderful thing you did in my relationship. I am so happy now. With your help we were both able to see and speak the truth to each other. I never thought a spell could help a couple before I am very pleased contacted you and initiated all this to happen. Anyone who have a relationship problem can contact Dr Isikolo via email You can also WhatsApp him on +1(725)240-4536

  6. toptan iç giyim tercih etmenizin sebebi kaliteyi ucuza satın alabilmektir. Ürünler yine orjinaldir ve size sorun yaşatmaz. Yine de bilinen tekstil markalarını tercih etmelisiniz.

    Digitürk başvuru güncel adresine hoşgeldiniz. Hemen başvuru yaparsanız anında kurulum yapmaktayız.

    tutku iç giyim Türkiye'nin önde gelen iç giyim markalarından birisi olmasının yanı sıra en çok satan markalardan birisidir. Ürünleri hem çok kalitelidir hem de pamuk kullanımı daha fazladır.

    nbb sütyen hem kaliteli hem de uygun fiyatlı sütyenler üretmektedir. Sütyene ek olarak sütyen takımı ve jartiyer gibi ürünleri de mevcuttur. Özellikle Avrupa ve Orta Doğu'da çokça tercih edilmektedir.

    yeni inci sütyen kaliteyi ucuz olarak sizlere ulaştırmaktadır. Çok çeşitli sütyen varyantları mevcuttur. iç giyime damga vuran markalardan biridir ve genellikle Avrupa'da ismi sıklıkla duyulur.

    iç giyim ürünlerine her zaman dikkat etmemiz gerekmektedir. Üretimde kullanılan malzemelerin kullanım oranları, kumaşın esnekliği, çekmezlik testi gibi birçok unsuru aynı anda değerlendirerek seçim yapmalıyız.

    iç giyim bayanların erkeklere göre daha dikkatli oldukları bir alandır. Erkeklere göre daha özenli ve daha seçici davranırlar. Biliyorlar ki iç giyimde kullandıkları şeyler kafalarındaki ve ruhlarındaki özellikleri dışa vururlar.

  7. I'm so excited my broken Marriage has been restored. My ex husband is back after he left me and our 2kids for another woman. I was so happy to meet Dr. OKu how he helps many people to bring their Lover back so i contact him to help me too. husbandThat was how Dr. Oku helped me to bring my  back.. A big thank you to Dr. Oku because I never thought my ex Husband will be back to me so quickly with your spell. You are the best and world greatest. If you are here and you need your Ex Let you in over back or your husband moves to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact:Email him at: You can also Call/WhatsApp:+2348163425519

  8. I would strongly love to recommend the services of the best team of dark web hackers. They are professional and very discreet in carrying out their jobs, they have the best customer service agents and satisfaction at heart. If you have any services you wish to contact them for, go on or, WhatsApp +31 6 84990027, They help track and monitor your cheating partner's phone without his idea, clear or erase criminal records as well as repair a bad credit score, all social media hacks, Recovery lost Funds from scammers / Cryptocurrency / Binary / Forex / Recovery of Stolen Bitcoin and many others. website :

  9. A drug rehab program will give the recovering addict the skills he or she needs to get through his or her drug addiction. - leafmularif. Get the facts it gives understanding what is the notion, let's carry on. It is also a great way to teach the addicted person to maintain a sober lifestyle. So, whether a person decides to start at home drug detox or any other type of rehab, it is extremely important that he or she is ready. After all, the longer it takes for a person to get his or her life back on the right track, the more damage will be done to the addict's health and future.


Post a Comment