The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.
Family Law

Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=520

SC19635 - O'Brien v. O'Brien ("In this certified appeal arising from a marital dissolution action, we must determine whether a trial court properly may consider a party's violation of a court order when distributing marital property, even if the trial court finds that the violation is not contemptuous. The plaintiff, Michael J. O'Brien, filed this action to dissolve his marriage to the defendant, Kathleen E. O'Brien. During the pendency of the action, the plaintiff sold shares of stock and exercised certain stock options without first receiving permission from either the defendant or the trial court, as required by Practice Book § 25-5, which also provides that a party who fails to obey the orders automatically entered thereunder may be held in contempt of court. The trial court found that the plaintiff's transactions violated those orders but did not hold the plaintiff in contempt because the court concluded the violations were not wilful. Nevertheless, because the transactions had caused a significant loss to the marital estate, the court considered that loss when it distributed the marital property between the parties, awarding a greater than even distribution to the defendant. On appeal, the Appellate Court concluded that, in the absence of a finding of contempt, the trial court lacked the authority to afford the defendant a remedy for the plaintiff's violation of the automatic orders. See O'Brien v. O'Brien, 161 Conn. App. 575, 591, 128 A.3d 595 (2015). We thereafter granted the defendant's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issue: 'Did the Appellate Court correctly determine that the trial court abused its discretion when it considered the plaintiff's purported violations of the automatic orders in its decision dividing marital assets [even though the court did not hold the plaintiff in contempt of court for those violations]?' O'Brien v. O'Brien, 320 Conn. 916, 131 A.3d 751 (2016). We agree with the defendant that the trial court properly exercised its discretion in considering the plaintiff's violations of the automatic orders in its division of the marital assets, and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=496

AC38705 - Cimino v. Cimino ("The plaintiff, Gina Cimino, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open and vacate the judgment dissolving her marriage to the defendant, Joseph Cimino. On appeal, she argues that (1) the dissolution court committed plain error in its valuation of the defendant’s pension and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in denying her motion to open the judgment. We decline to address the claim that the dissolution court committed plain error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=482

AC36604 - Sousa v. Sousa ("A party seeking to open a judgment beyond the passage of the four month limitation period from its rendering provided by General Statutes § 52-212a under an exception for judgments procured by fraud, bears the burden of proving fraud in all of its elements by clear and convincing evidence. At the heart of this appeal is whether the defendant, Donna M. Sousa, proved by clear and convincing evidence that the plaintiff, Eric P. Sousa, knew that the $32,698.82 he valued his pension at when the parties were divorced in 2001 was incorrect. The trial court found that the defendant failed to carry this burden. We affirm that judgment.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=479

AC38165 - Bauer v. Bauer ("The plaintiff, Mary L. Bauer, appeals from the postjudgment rulings of the trial court denying her motion for contempt and granting the motion of the defendant, Jeffrey W. Bauer, for modification of his alimony obligation. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) determined that the defendant’s failure to pay court-ordered alimony was not wilful, (2) failed to conclude that the defendant’s conduct was culpable when considering his motion for modification, and (3) failed to admit certain evidence that she offered relative to the criteria set forth in General Statutes § 46b-82. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=463

AC38753 - Rinfret v. Porter ("The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the trial court improperly awarded the defendant, Melissa Jayne Porter, her attorney's fees under the bad faith exception to the 'American rule' by broadly concluding that the underlying custody action brought by the plaintiff, Peter Alan Rinfret, was both (1) 'entirely without color' and (2) taken in bad faith. We conclude that the court did not find with adequate specificity that the plaintiff's actions were entirely without color. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment awarding the defendant $87,548.11 in attorney's fees and remand the matter for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=453

AC38821 - Pressley v. Johnson ("This appeal stems from postdissolution proceedings in which the plaintiff, Jessica Lynn Pressley, moved that the defendant, Thomas H. Johnson III, be found in contempt of an order in the parties’ marital dissolution judgment requiring him to pay one half of work related child care expenses for the parties’ minor children. The plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in denying her motion for contempt and finding that the defendant did not owe her an arrearage for the work related child care expenses she had incurred. We agree with the plaintiff and thus reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter for further proceedings.")


Family Law Research Guides Updated in April 2017

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=433

The following family law research guides were updated in April and have been posted to our research guides page.

04/28/2017 - Enforcement of Family and Foreign Matrimonial Judgments
04/27/2017 - Marriage in Connecticut
04/13/2017 - Paternity Actions in Connecticut
04/13/2017 - Child Visitation in Connecticut


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=431

AC38300 - LeSueur v. LeSueur ("In this postdissolution marital matter, the defendant, Andrew LeSueur, appeals from the judgment of the trial court modifying custody and child support orders that had been entered at the time of the dissolution. The defendant contends that the court erred in failing to (1) grant a child support overpayment credit retroactive to any period prior to December 9, 2014, and (2) award child support to the defendant for the time period between June, 2014, and the end of the 2016 school year. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=413

AC38402 - Watkins v. Demos ("The plaintiff, Beverly Watkins, appeals from the postjudgment orders of the court entered after the dissolution of her marriage to the defendant, John Nicholas Demos. The plaintiff challenges the trial court’s denial of her postjudgment motion for contempt and her motion to open the judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38379 - Horey v. Horey ("The defendant, Joyce A. Horey, appeals from the financial orders relating to the judgment of the trial court dissolving her marriage to the plaintiff, Alan L. Horey. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by entering an alimony order that terminates upon the sale of the plaintiff’s business. She argues that such a time limited alimony order is inconsistent with the facts found by the court, and that the court, therefore, reasonably could not have concluded as it did. For the reasons that follow, we disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=410

AC38584 - Richman v. Wallman (Dissolution of marriage; "The self-represented plaintiff, Terri L. Richman, appeals from the judgment of the trial court ordering her to sign the revised qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) that were prepared to divide the retirement assets of her former husband, the defendant, Scott A. Wallman, between the two parties. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly held her in contempt, and (2) improperly modified the distribution of the parties' property without the requisite subject matter jurisdiction to do so. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


New Divorce Navigator tool from the Judicial Branch

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=407

The Judicial Branch has created a new online resource designed to help make the divorce process clearer and easier to navigate.

From the Press Release:

A newly developed “Divorce Navigator” is available to the public through the Judicial Branch’s website to assist in simplifying the divorce process....

The Divorce Navigator is designed to help parties decide which divorce process is best for them through a series of questions. Based on answers the parties provide, this online resource will direct them toward a divorce process that may best suit their situation.

For links to the law and other legal resources on divorce in Connecticut, see our Law about Divorce webpage.


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=403

AC38222 - Robinson v. Robinson ("The defendant, Donald J. Robinson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his postjudgment motion to modify his child support obligation to the plaintiff, Margaret Robinson. The defendant claims that the court erroneously denied his motion for modification because (1) its calculation of presumptive child support was erroneous; (2) it erroneously found shared physical custody; and (3) there was no justification for ordering an upward deviation from the presumptive amount of child support provided for in the guidelines. We do not agree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38492 - Righi v. Righi ("This family law appeal requires us to analyze the statutory requirements necessary for a party to succeed on a postjudgment motion to modify, pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-86 (a). The plaintiff, John Righi, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the postjudgment motion of the defendant, Allison Righi, to modify a marital dissolution judgment child support order. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly granted the motion to modify after determining there had not been a substantial change in circumstances; and (2) erred by finding that the dissolution court, in creating the original child support order, failed to make a finding that applying the child support guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate, pursuant to General Statutes §§ 46b-215b (a) and 46b-86 (a). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=394

AC38137 - Rubenstein v. Rubenstein ("The defendant, Bonnie Rubenstein, appeals from the judgment of the trial court modifying the periodic alimony order that she previously had been ordered to pay to the plaintiff, her former husband, Jeffrey Rubenstein. Although the defendant’s brief is not a model of clarity, her claims on appeal can be distilled as follows. The defendant claims that the trial court erred in modifying the alimony order because (1) it improperly relied upon the defendant’s receipt of an inheritance as the substantial change in circumstances upon which it based said modification, (2) it erroneously concluded that the plaintiff’s financial circumstances had worsened since 2006, and (3) it improperly changed the character of the alimony award when it ordered an increased periodic order of alimony instead of the lump sum that the plaintiff had requested. We disagree with all of the defendant’s claims, and therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=367

AC38275 - Jeanette-Blethen v. Jeanette-Blethen ("The plaintiff, Aimee L. Jeanette-Blethen, appeals from the postjudgment orders of the trial court, Carbonneau, J., granting the motion of the defendant, Jeffrey M. Jeanette-Blethen, to modify custody with respect to the primary residence of the parties’ minor children, and granting the motion of Eileen Martin, the maternal grandmother, to intervene pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-593 upon finding that a parent-like relationship existed between her and the minor children. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court’s factual findings are clearly erroneous and that the court abused its discretion in modifying the custody order that was entered at the time of the dissolution judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=356

AC37658 - Grant v. Grant ("The defendant, Winston Grant, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Jennifer Grant, and entering related financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion in (1) finding him in contempt for violating the court’s automatic orders, (2) ordering him to pay the plaintiff $30,425.98 from his retirement account within thirty days from the judgment and (3) finding that he owned real property in Jamaica and ordering him to pay the plaintiff $20,000 reflecting the plaintiff’s contributions to that property within four years. We agree with the defendant. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.")



Family Forms Grouped by Case Type

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=339

Did you know that the Judicial Branch posts general filing instructions for some of the most common family law case types on its Forms page?

Brief instructions on the following topics are available by clicking on Family Forms Grouped by Case Type:

The instructions provide general information and are not intended to be comprehensive.

See Also: Guidelines on Common Civil Procedures (posted Nov. 16, 2016)


LexisNexis Practice Guide: Connecticut Family Law

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=318

The 2017 edition of LexisNexis Practice Guide: Connecticut Family Law has been received by many of our law libraries. Each chapter of this guide offers analysis, strategies, checklists, and tips. The table of contents is listed below:

Chapter 1 Marriage
Chapter 2 Jurisdiction
Chapter 3 Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation
Chapter 4 Pretrial Pleadings and Discovery
Chapter 5 Alimony
Chapter 6 Division of Property
Chapter 7 Child Support
Chapter 8 Custody and Visitation
Chapter 9 Adoption
Chapter 10 Paternity
Chapter 11 Surrogacy and Gestational Agreements
Chapter 12 Agreements
Chapter 13 Same-Sex Dissolution Issues
Chapter 14 Alternative Dispute Resolution
Chapter 15 Counsel Fees
Chapter 16 Appellate Procedure
Chapter 17 Enforcement of Orders
Chapter 18 Divorce Taxation
Chapter 20 Forms


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=310

AC38201 - Chang v. Chang ("The defendant, David Chang, appeals from the financial orders entered in connection with the judgment rendered by the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Melissa Chang. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) determined that the premarital agreement between the parties was unenforceable because his disclosure of certain assets was inadequate, and (2) concluded that it could award alimony and divide certain solely owned assets even if the premarital agreement was enforceable. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=302

AC38090 - Wood v. Wood ("The plaintiff, Amelia Wood, appeals from the financial orders relating to the judgment of the trial court dissolving her marriage to the defendant, David Wood. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) awarding the parties’ joint securities account, in its entirety, to the defendant, (2) failing to treat the defendant’s unexercised stock options as available income when awarding alimony or, alternatively, as marital property when distributing property, and (3) failing to distribute a portion of the defendant’s pension annuity retirement income to her. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


1 2 3