The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s division of property and award of spousal maintenance as being within the court’s discretion.
The wife was awarded $8.5 million in community property plus a $1.7 million payment from the husband. The husband was awarded $8.6 million in community property and $980,000 in separate property, less the $1.7 million “equalizing” payment. The wife was also awarded $1 million in spousal maintenance spread over three years.
The parties had been married for more than 30 years, had eight children together, and the husband earned a minimum of $4 million annually. The court anticipated that he would work for a minimum of 2-1/2 years after the dissolution. The husband claimed that the wife was actually in a better financial position, but the Court of Appeals pointed to the husband’s estimated earnings until his anticipated retirement.
One of the interesting issues was the date on which the marriage became defunct. Apparently, Dr. Wright moved to Alaska in November 2007. The parties continued to socialize together, and Dr. Wright regularly traveled between the family home and Alaska. Even after Dr. Wright announced in October 2010 that he had a pregnant girlfriend in Alaska, “neither party expressly renounced the marriage.” Thus, the court apparently concluded that the surgery practice that Dr. Wright established in Alaska between 2007 and 2011 was a community asset.
Christina A. Meserve and Charles E. Szurszewski practice family law in Olympia, Washington with the law firm of Connolly Tacon & Meserve.