Richard Novitch obtained a modification judgment terminating a dentist’s alimony payments under a divorce judgment due to a disabling thumb injury that forced him to sell his practice following two surgeries in 2019.
Despite years of conservative treatments to manage severe arthritis in the dentist’s thumb, the condition deteriorated to the point of disfigurement and to such an extent that surgery was the only remaining option, according to the findings of a Middlesex Probate and Family Court judge following a four-day trial.
The judge determined that the former dentist’s disability was permanent, and his resulting reduced income was a material change of circumstances warranting a retroactive reduction of spousal support obligations.
After determining the dentist had overpaid support by more than $190,000, the judge adjusted the amount of spousal support required to be paid in the future through the date of his retirement. The judge, after offsetting what had been overpaid by the required future payments, ordered the ex-wife to reimburse the dentist more than $76,000 in overpayments made since April 2019.
The judge also ordered the ex-spouse to pay almost $50,000 in attorney’s fees due to unnecessary litigation costs caused by her “disingenuous positions” and lack of candor in her financial reporting.