NEWTOWN, Conn. – When Nancy and Peter Lanza divorced three years ago, Nancy Lanza got more than $200,000 a year in alimony and primary custody of the teenage son who last week committed one of the most gruesome crimes in U.S. history.
Adam Lanza, now 20, fatally shot his mother on Friday before going to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killing 20 children and six adults. Adam Lanza fatally shot himself as police closed in.
Nancy Lanza filed for divorce Dec. 9, 2008, in Stamford, Conn., saying “the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there is no possibility of getting back together.” The couple had already separated and Peter Lanza was living in an apartment in downtown Stamford.
The Stamford law firm of Piazza, Simmons & Grant, which represented Nancy Lanza in the divorce, said in a statement Monday that she “was always courteous and polite. She was an intelligent woman who we were pleased to represent.”
The firm added, “We extend our deeply heartfelt sympathy and sorrow for all the families which have been impacted by the tragic events of the past several days.”
Nancy Jean Champion and Peter John Lanza married June 6, 1981, in Kingston, N.H. Their oldest son, Ryan John Lanza, was born seven years later on April 10, 1988.
Adam Peter Lanza was born April 22, 1992.
In the divorce, Nancy Lanza asked for a fair division of property, alimony, child support, support for the boys’ college education and joint legal custody. The divorce became final on Sept. 23, 2009.
Peter Lanza has since married a university librarian and lives in Stamford.
The couple agreed that Adam Lanza, then 16, would live primarily with his mother, but that his father would have “liberal visitation and vacations.” Court papers indicate Adam had lived in Sandy Hook since birth.
At the time, Peter Lanza earned $8,556 a week. Lanza agreed to pay annual alimony in 2010 of $240,000 with increases each year. In 2012, Lanza paid his ex-wife $289,800. After 2016, Nancy Lanza would get annual cost-of-living increases based on the 2015 alimony payment of $298,000 a year until Peter Lanza retires.
Peter Lanza agreed to pay the entire cost of his sons’ college and graduate school education. In addition to college expenses, Peter Lanza also agreed to provide a car for Adam. Nancy Lanza would cover insurance and maintenance.
The couple agreed to divide their season tickets to the Red Sox with Nancy Lanza having the two tickets for five games on odd years and four games on even years.
Peter Lanza transferred ownership of their Yogananda Street house to Nancy Lanza. The court instructed Nancy Lanza to either sell or refinance the mortgage so that her husband is no longer liable for it.
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