JAMES A. SULIKOWSKI
SANDRA L. SULIKOWSKI
Submitted On Briefs: June 26, 2019
R. Libby, Esq., and Keith P. Richard, Esq., Libby O'Brien
Kingsley & Champion, LLC, Kennebunk, for appellant James
K. Kantz, Esq., Vincent, Kantz, Pittman & Thompson, LLC,
Portland, for appellee Sandra L. Sulikowski
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, HJELM, and
James A. Sulikowski and Sandra L. Sulikowski each appeal from
an order modifying child support and spousal support entered
in the District Court (Biddeford, Cantara, J.), each
asserting that the court erred in determining the
parties' incomes, modifying the child and spousal support
orders, and denying his or her request for attorney fees. We
discern no error except in the court's calculation of the
child support obligation, vacate and remand the child support
order to be corrected by the court, and affirm the judgment
in all other respects.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the court's
judgment, the record supports the following facts.
McBride v. Worth, 2018 ME 54, ¶ 2, 184 A.3d 14.
The parties were married in 2000 and divorced in 2014; they
have three young children. In the divorce judgment, the court
(Biddeford, Douglas, J.) found that James's
income was $98, 500 and imputed income to Sandra of $38, 000.
The divorce judgment also established shared parental rights
and responsibilities and shared primary residence, and
ordered James to pay child support and spousal
On November 1, 2016, Sandra filed a motion to modify child
support, alleging that James's income had increased
substantially since the divorce. On February 2, 2018, James
filed a motion to terminate spousal support, alleging that
Sandra had experienced a substantial change in circumstances
in that (1) her income had increased substantially and (2)
she had been cohabitating in a mutually supportive
relationship functionally equivalent to marriage for twelve
of the previous eighteen months. See 19-A M.R.S.
§ 951-A(12)(2018). The motions were considered at a
consolidated hearing on December 20 and 21, 2018.
At the hearing on the motions, the court heard testimony from
Sandra, Sandra's partner, Sandra's accountant, James,
and James's expert witness-a forensic accountant. Sandra
testified that her income in each of the prior several years
was between $32, 483 and $47, 713, and that a recent injury
had diminished her earning capacity. Applying certain
accounting techniques and assumptions to various bank
statements and profit-loss data from Sandra's businesses,
the forensic accountant estimated that Sandra's annual
income likely ranged from $113, 174 to $144, 501 in the same
time period. The court also heard testimony from James and
the forensic accountant that James's income, which
consists of a base salary and additional income from grants
and consulting services, varies from year to year but
averaged $120, 247 per year from 2014 to 2017.
The court found that Sandra's gross annual income is $76,
000, "twice the income imputed to her at the time of the
divorce." In addition, the court found that Sandra
"routinely" underreported her overall income, did
not report income from one of her businesses "with any
degree of accounting accuracy," and kept records that
were "astonishingly and conspicuously lacking in
accuracy and reliability." The court found that
James's income is $120, 247, and denied James's
request to terminate spousal support, but reduced his
obligation by half, finding that the evidence "falls far
short of establishing" that Sandra was in a relationship
similar to marriage and that an equitable need for general
spousal support persisted. See 19-A M.R.S. § 951-A
Regarding child support, the court mistakenly calculated
James's child support obligation using the figures for
two children, instead of three, from the child support table
promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
See 10-144 C.M.R. ch. 351, ch. 6, § 2
(effective July 29, 2016). Although the court's child
support order correctly indicated that sixty-one percent of
the children's medical expenses would be allocated to
James and thirty-nine percent to Sandra, based on their
relative incomes, see 19-A M.R.S. § 2006(4)
(2018), the supplemental worksheet attached to that order
allocated fifty-one percent of these expenses to James and
forty-nine percent to Sandra.
From these factual findings, the court (1) modified
James's child support obligation; (2) reduced, but did
not terminate, James's spousal support obligation and
ordered Sandra to repay James $3, 750 for his overpayment of
spousal support; (3) denied attorney fees to each side; and
(4) maintained the other provisions of the underlying divorce
Following the entry of judgment, both parties timely filed
motions for further findings and reconsideration. M.R. Civ.
P. 52(b), 59(e). The court ...