Turner v. Turner
Maryland Court of Special Appeals
809 A.2d 18 (2002)
E. Diane Turner (plaintiff) and Donald Turner (defendant) were married for 31 years before separating in June 1997. When first married, Diane and Donald worked together to build a business, Baltimore Stage Lighting, Inc. (BSL), which was wholly owned by Diane and Donald. Although both spouses were actively involved in building BSL and worked equally for BSL, Donald owned 65 shares of the company stock but Diane only owned 10 shares. Donald received a salary of $175,000 to $200,000 per year from BSL, more than twice Diane’s salary of $85,000 per year. Donald received bonuses as well as other benefits, such as a car, insurance, and a phone. In 1997, Diane discovered Donald had a drug problem, was cheating on her, and was taking money from BSL. The couple separated, and Diane filed a petition for dissolution. The trial court found that Diane, based on her age, health, work experience, skills, and lack of minor children at home, had the ability to earn $35,000 per year, although Diane did not intend to work given her age and the fact that she would need to start her career over. The court awarded Diane 55 percent of the marital assets, including the value of BSL, but gave Donald sole control of BSL. As a result, Diane would not remain employed with BSL, but Donald would continue to work for and control BSL. Using the formula for spousal support, the court found that Diane was entitled to $2,000 per week in spousal support, but the court lowered the amount in its order to $2,000 per month based on the significant value of the marital assets Diane was awarded. Diane appealed, arguing that the alimony award was unfair given the significant disparity in her future wealth from Donald’s even though they had equally contributed to BSL during their marriage.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hollander, J.)
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