Posner & Gaier, Hempstead (Stephen Posner of counsel), for plaintiff.
Capetola & Doddato, Williston Park (Anthony Yovino of counsel), for defendant.
Anthony J. Falanga, J.
This is a motion by the wife for an order setting the valuation date of the husband's harbor pilot's license as the date of trial and for a further order awarding her expert fees for the purpose of valuing said harbor pilot's license as well as other licenses obtained by the husband during the marriage. The husband cross-moves for an order declaring his expectation of attaining a harbor pilot's license to be his separate property not subject to equitable distribution. He also seeks an order allowing him to utilize marital assets for his own support and to pay counsel fees and directing the wife to apply marital assets under her control to support herself and the parties' children during the pendency of the action.
The parties were married on November 18, 1989. There are three children of the marriage, Nicholas, born June 25, 1992; Michael, born December 27, 1993; and Matthew, born August 31, 1997.
The plaintiff is a registered nurse. She earned $34,000 in 1999 working two days a week. She resides with the children in the marital residence in Rockville Centre.
The husband graduated from Maritime College and obtained his Third Mate's license prior to the marriage. He obtained a Second Mate's license in December 1989, a month after the marriage and began work as a Second Mate in January 1990. He obtained a Chief Mate's license in 1991 and a Master's orCaptain's
license in 1995. Prior to June 1998, he was employed by Maritime Overseas. He earned $90,721 in 1997 and $34,546 through May 1998. This employment required frequent travel and three-month-long absences from home when he was at sea. In September 1998, he commenced employment as an apprentice harbor pilot in Pennsylvania at a salary of $13,000 per year. He alleges that it took him six years to get accepted as an apprentice as there are only 500 harbor pilot jobs in the United States. He contends that the wife encouraged him to accept the apprenticeship so that he could acquire a " land job" that would not require him to travel and spend so much time away from the family. He has alleged that he was " shocked" when the wife refused to relocate to Pennsylvania. The wife concedes that she approved of the husband's ambition to become a harbor pilot but adamantly states that she did not want him to accept an apprenticeship which would necessitate relocation.
The husband presently earns $18,000 per year. Once he receives state and federal licenses, he anticipates earning $180,000 per year. He expects to finish his apprenticeship in October 2001. Assuming he passes a series of tests, he must purchase a share in the harbor pilot's association at a cost of $150,000 in order to commence employment as a licensed harbor pilot.
From September 1998 through August 1999, the husband lived in rented premises in Pennsylvania. In August 1999, he utilized $150,000 of marital savings to purchase a home in Pennsylvania. His parents also contributed a significant sum toward the purchase of that premises and it is not encumbered. The wife and children spent school recesses and the summers of 1999 and 2000 with the husband in Pennsylvania. In October 2000, the wife commenced the instant action for divorce.
Since May 1998, the needs of the parties and their children have been met by the dissipation of marital assets. Shortly before commencing his apprenticeship, the husband used marital assets to purchase a $27,000 Mercury Mountaineer. In March 2000, he sold marital real property in Florida. The net proceeds of the sale, $20,000, were divided equally between the parties. In October 2000, the wife realized $7,000 from the sale of the parties' AT& T stock. She retained $5,000 and gave $2,000 to the husband. The husband did not provide any support to the wife and ...