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Clapp v. Clapp

Vermont Supreme court
653 A.2d 72 (1994)


Facts

Elizabeth Clapp (plaintiff) and Michael Clapp (defendant) were married in 1967. Mr. Clapp began practicing law in 1969, and Ms. Clapp stayed home to care for the couple’s two children, born in 1970 and 1972, full time until 1975. Ms. Clapp obtained her master’s degree in education in 1977 and became a school guidance counselor. The parties separated in 1987, and Ms. Clapp filed for divorce in 1989. In 1991, Ms. Clapp’s income as a high school guidance counselor was $45,237, and Mr. Clapp’s income as an attorney the same year was $137,600, both before taxes. The divorce was final in February 1993. The court ordered Mr. Clapp to pay Ms. Clapp maintenance, sometimes called alimony, in the temporary amount of $2000 per month and further ordered a calculation of maintenance based on an equalization of after-tax income from June 1987 until the date of the divorce, with an annual inflation adjustment. Mr. Clapp appealed the maintenance award, alleging that Ms. Clapp could meet her reasonable needs based on her own income level without maintenance and that her nonmonetary contributions as a homemaker were not a valid reason to award maintenance.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Dooley, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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