Gina, the wife
Carlo, the husband, was unwilling to give Gina an appropriate amount of alimony and misrepresented the value of his business.
Gina, our client, was awarded a fair alimony settlement when we demonstrated the actual value of the business.
Gina had married into a restaurant family. Her husband, Carlo, was a partner in a family restaurant that included a formal, white table cloth Italian eatery and a pizza shop. Gina and Carlo did not have children, but Gina was a stay-at-home wife who took care of the home, prepared meals and frequently worked in Carlo’s family business.
The couple decided to divorce and, given the length of the marriage and the historical responsibilities of each party, Gina sought an award of permanent alimony. Carlo was unwilling to pay an appropriate amount of alimony based upon the formal and not so formal income he made from the family business, as well as the value of his interest in the restaurant. Restaurants are often difficult to value. Restaurant owners work hard to minimize their income, especially in a cash-intensive business like a pizzeria, where income is easily hidden.
Our client Gina had devoted her married life to supporting Carlo in their business and home. But we couldn’t get an accurate picture of how much the business was really worth, and therefore how much Gina was entitled to in the settlement.
It took some detective work to arrive at the truth. We found out who supplied pizza boxes to the pizzeria, then secured a subpoena for their records. Based on this, we could figure out approximately how many pizzas the pizzeria made monthly. Next we turned to the restaurant. In this case, we found out from their linen supplier how many linen napkins the restaurant used every month. Using a nationally accepted estimate of napkins per diner, we were able to estimate approximately how many dinners the restaurant was serving every month. We discovered that Carlo’s family was severely under reporting the size of their business. When we supplied the court with the correct facts, we negotiated a settlement that reflected her contribution to the marriage, the family and the business.