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The factors underlying alimony, a monetary award, and counsel fees are so interrelated that, when a trial court considers a claim for any one of them, it must weigh the award of any other. Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §§ 8-205(b)(9), (10); 11-106(b)(11)(ii); 11-110(c)(1). Therefore, when an appeals court vacates one such award, it often vacates the remaining awards for re-evaluation.
Appellant, Diane Turner, and appellee, Donald Turner, were spouses who owned Baltimore Stage Lighting, Inc. (Company). The parties built the Company’s business based upon the Donald’s initial ideas. Diane was a minority shareholder of the Company. The Company supplied them with over $240,000 in income, which they divided about equally and comprised most of their martial assets. When Dianne sought for the dissolution of her marriage with Donald, she also sought for equal ownership and control of the Company. After the grant of the divorce, the trial court allocated the wife 55 percent of the Company's value and 50 percent of the home sale proceeds. Dianne appealed and Donald and Company moved to dismiss.
Was it correct to allocate 55 percent of the Company's value to the wife Diane, notwithstanding the fact that she was only a minority shareholder of the Company?
The Court vacated and remanded alimony and property division decisions of the trial court. According to the Court, there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court’s determination of the wife’s alimony based on (1) the wife's $35,000 attributed annual earning potential but loss of career path, (2) the husband's annual income, (3) the wife's annual expenses, (4) the wife's income from assets allocated to her, and (5) the effect of income taxes. Other issues included income diverted from the corporation for personal use, legal expenses, and property division. The Company's veil was not pierced or existence disregarded.