In the Matter of Tammy Rokowski and Shane Rokowski
Argued June 18, 2015.
3rd Circuit Court -- Conway Family Division.
Melendy, Lee & Santuccio, P.A., of Conway ( Danielle Richey Santuccio on the brief and orally), for the petitioner.
Donald M. Ekberg, of North Conway, by brief and orally, for the respondent.
DALIANIS, C.J. HICKS, CONBOY, LYNN, and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.
The respondent, Shane Rokowski, appeals the final decree in his divorce from the petitioner, Tammy Rokowski. On appeal, he argues that the Circuit Court ( Albee, J.) erred by: (1) conducting its own internet research to ascertain the value of the marital home; (2) inequitably distributing the parties' assets and debts; (3) awarding the petitioner permanent lifetime alimony of $750 monthly; and (4) requiring him to pay certain expenses while the divorce was pending. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand.
The trial court found, or the record contains, the following facts. The parties married in 1990. When they married, the petitioner was 21 years old and a high school graduate. She was employed full-time by Cuisinart with which she has a small 401(k) account. After the parties married, the petitioner worked outside the home until 1995, when their eldest son was born. The parties' two sons are now both over 18.
Before 2006, the family lived in Norwich, Connecticut, in a two-family home owned by the respondent's grandparents until 1997, when they conveyed the home to the respondent, reserving a life estate for themselves. The home has two residential units: the respondent's grandparents lived in the upstairs unit, and the parties and their children lived in the downstairs unit.
The respondent works primarily as a self-employed plumber. He also has a seasonal snow plowing business. The petitioner was a bookkeeper for the plumbing and snow plowing businesses, although she did not receive taxable wages for her work. In 2004, the parties began a fireworks business for which the petitioner acted as a bookkeeper, worked at a store front, and " did tent sales." The respondent is the sole proprietor of the plumbing, snowplowing, and fireworks businesses.
According to the respondent, his businesses were lucrative and produced substantial cash proceeds. Because the parties had minimal living expenses, they and their children were able to take vacations to New Hampshire and Jamaica. They also skied and ...