Rodriguez v. Rodriguez (Appellate Division, Second Department)

In Rodriguez v. Rodriguez, decided on February 9, 2010 (Appellate Division, Second Department), the court agreed with the lower courts awards of 30% of the defendants enhanced earnings derived from his medical license and 25% of defendant’s medical practice. However, it found that the Supreme Court erred in failing to apply an appropriate “coveture fraction” to the enhanced earning valuation to account for the portion of the husband’s medical education and training completed before the marriage. The Appellate court also agreed with the defendant that the Supreme Court impermissibly engaged in the “double counting” of income in valuing his medical practice, which was equitably distributed as marital property and in awarding maintenance to the plaintiff. The valuation of the defendant’s business involved calculating the defendant’s projected future excess earnings. In valuing and distributing the value of the defendant’s business, the Supreme Court converted a certain amount of the defendant’s projected future income stream into an asset. The Supreme Court also calculated the amount of maintenance to which the plaintiff was entitled based on defendant’s total income, which necessarily included the excess earnings produced by his business. This issue has been remitted back to the Supreme Court to recalculate the maintenance and cash distributive awards.