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Simmons v. Simmons

Connecticut Supreme Court
708 A.2d 949 (1998)


Facts

Duncan Simmons (plaintiff) and Aura Simmons (defendant) married each other at age twenty-three and forty-three, respectively. The couple had no children of their own, but Aura had six children from a previous marriage. During their marriage, Duncan earned an undergraduate degree and a medical degree. Aura also obtained two associate degrees, one as a surgical technician and one in nursing. Each paid their own educational expenses and each was employed until Duncan started attending medical school, at which point only Aura earned income for the family. She thus provided financial and emotional support and served as a homemaker during that time. Three years into his five-year residency, Duncan filed for divorce. At trial, Aura sought to have Duncan’s medical degree declared marital property subject to equitable distribution. At the time, she was fifty-six years old and earned a combined $100,000 that year and the previous year; he was thirty-six and earning $45,660 annually as a resident. She presented expert testimony that the medical degree reasonably equated to an estimated $3.1 million in future earnings reduced to present value. The trial court refused to recognize the medical degree as property, dissolved the marriage, and denied alimony to both parties. Aura appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Callahan, 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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