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Family Law

Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4345

AC44174 - Bouffard v. Lewis ("The defendant, Jamie G. Lewis, appeals from the March 4, 2020 postjudgment orders of the trial court denying his motion for modification of alimony and child support and granting the motion of the plaintiff, Kristy L. Bouffard, for contempt relating to his failure to pay alimony and child support. On October 30, 2020, the trial court issued an order wherein it found that its March 4, 2020 orders were automatically stayed pursuant to Practice Book § 61-11 (c). Before this court is the plaintiff's motion asking this court to review the trial court's October 30, 2020 order. The plaintiff argues that there is no automatic stay on orders of periodic alimony and child support. The defendant argues in opposition to this motion for review that lump sum alimony and support payments are subject to an automatic appellate stay. Because we agree that there is no automatic appellate stay, we grant the plaintiff's motion for review and grant the relief requested in that the court's October 30, 2020 order is vacated.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4334

AC44298 - Ricketts v. Ricketts ("The marriage between the plaintiff, Robert Alexander Ricketts, and the defendant, Janelle R. Ricketts (now known as Janelle R. Mallett), was dissolved in 2018. The plaintiff appeals from the September 17, 2020 orders of the trial court, Nguyen-O'Dowd, J., denying his postjudgment motion to 'transfer [this matter] to the Regional Family Trial Docket in accordance with the [parties'] divorce decree' and appointing a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the parties' minor children. On November 13, 2020, this court ordered, sua sponte, that the parties file memoranda giving reasons, if any, why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of an appealable judgment. On December 16, 2020, we dismissed the plaintiff's appeal and indicated in our order that an opinion would follow. This opinion elucidates our conclusion that this court does not have jurisdiction to consider the propriety of these postjudgment orders at this time.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4320

AC42685 - Fronsaglia v. Fronsaglia ("The defendant, Benigno Fronsaglia, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Lisa Fronsaglia. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) abused its discretion in fashioning its financial orders by making a grossly disproportionate property distribution in the plaintiff's favor and by assigning the majority of the marital debt to him, (2) erred by basing its orders on the defendant's assumed earning capacity of $160,000, where no evidence existed to support the earning capacity determined by the court, (3) erred in basing its alimony award on gross income rather than net income, when there was no evidence to support a net income based on the defendant's assumed gross income, and (4) abused its discretion by awarding alimony to the plaintiff to punish the defendant for his purported misdeeds. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4214

AC42539 - Leonova v. Leonov ("The defendant, Stanislav Leonov, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Alina Leonova, which included a finding of contempt against the defendant, and from two postjudgment orders awarding the plaintiff attorney's fees incurred in connection with postdissolution proceedings and her defense of this appeal. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) abused its discretion by improperly basing supplemental alimony awarded to the plaintiff on the defendant's gross, rather than net, bonus income, (2) acted in excess of its statutory authority when it ordered the parties to establish and to contribute to education savings plans established pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 529 (§ 529 plans) for the benefit of each of the two minor children, (3) acted in excess of its statutory authority when it found the defendant in contempt for an alleged violation of the automatic orders set forth in Practice Book § 25-5, despite the fact that there was no contempt motion pending, (4) abused its discretion when it found the defendant in contempt for two violations of the automatic orders where the defendant's financial expenditures fell within the 'usual course of business' exception to the rule, (5) abused its discretion by failing to attribute an earning capacity to the plaintiff in determining alimony and child support, and (6) in violation of the directive of General Statutes § 46b-62 (a) and relevant decisional law, improperly awarded the plaintiff attorney's fees for representation during the marital dissolution proceedings, postjudgment matters and this appeal. We agree with the defendant's third claim only. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of dissolution only with respect to one of the contempt findings, and remand the case to the trial court with direction to vacate its finding that the defendant was in contempt with respect to one of the violations of the automatic orders alleged by the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment and postjudgment orders of the court in all other respects.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4206

AC42778 - Gershon v. Back ("The present appeal concerns the judgment rendered by the trial court when it dismissed the motion to open the 2011 New York judgment of marital dissolution (motion to open) filed by the plaintiff, Elana Gershon, some years after she registered the judgment in Connecticut. The plaintiff claims on appeal that the trial court improperly dismissed her motion to open for lack of subject matter jurisdiction by applying New York procedural rules, rather than Connecticut procedural rules, when it dismissed the motion. We conclude that the court properly determined that New York law governed the plaintiff’s rights with respect to the parties’ stipulation, but we agree with the plaintiff that the court improperly dismissed the motion to open for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The form of the judgment is improper. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of dismissal and remand the case with direction to render judgment denying the motion to open.")

AC42518 - Bevilacqua v. Bevilacqua ("The self-represented defendant, John Bevilacqua, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Pamela Bevilacqua, and entering related financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) abused its discretion in denying his request for a continuance of the trial, (2) erred by ordering him to pay periodic alimony to the plaintiff, and (3) erred by awarding certain real property to him in its property distribution order. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4180

AC42950 - Ross v. Ross ("The defendant, Benjamin Ross, appeals from the judgment of the trial court issuing postdissolution financial orders, as well as awarding attorney's fees and costs in favor of the plaintiff, Lauri Ross. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) abused its discretion by failing to apply the child support guidelines, (2) erred by modifying the unallocated alimony and child support order without first unbundling the child support portion from the original order, and (3) abused its discretion by ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42299 - Casiraghi v. Casiraghi ("The plaintiff, Christopher Casiraghi, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered on three postdissolution motions for contempt filed by the defendant, Paula Casiraghi. Specifically, the court granted two of the motions for contempt, concluding that the plaintiff wilfully had failed to pay in full his unallocated alimony and child support obligation to the defendant or to make required installment payments toward the satisfaction of a lump sum property distribution award. The court denied a third motion for contempt that alleged that the plaintiff wilfully violated the parties' separation agreement (agreement), which was incorporated into the dissolution judgment, by making a postdissolution investment in a CrossFit franchise, but nonetheless made a finding that the investment had breached the parties' agreement.

On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) determined that he wilfully had failed to comply with his financial obligations to the defendant despite a lack of any finding by the court regarding his assertion that he lacked the ability to pay, and (2) found that his investment in the CrossFit franchise breached the parties' agreement despite also finding that he was current on his financial obligations to the defendant at the time that the investment was made, which, according to the express terms of the agreement, rendered the investment permissible. For the reasons that follow, we agree that the court improperly granted the defendant's motions for contempt regarding the unallocated support orders and the installment payments on the lump sum property award because the court failed to consider and to determine whether the plaintiff had the ability to pay. We further agree that the court's finding that the plaintiff breached the agreement by investing in the CrossFit franchise was clearly erroneous. We accordingly reverse those aspects of the trial court's judgment, including the court's remedial orders, and remand for further proceedings on the improperly granted motions for contempt. We otherwise affirm the judgment of the court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4169

AC42751 - Dempsey v. Cappuccino ("The plaintiff, Shauna Dempsey, appeals from the February 21, 2019 judgment of the trial court awarding the defendant, Vincent Cappuccino, unsupervised visitation rights with their minor child. On appeal, she claims that the court erred by allowing the defendant unsupervised visits without requiring any testing for marijuana use, finding that the defendant does not have a substance abuse problem, and denying her motion for reargument and reconsideration. On February 20, 2020, the court issued subsequent orders that superseded the visitation orders that are challenged on appeal. We therefore dismiss the appeal as moot.")

AC41216 - Marshall v. Marshall ("The defendant, Kimberly L. Marshall, appeals from the rulings of the trial court on her motion for contempt and the motion of the plaintiff, William Marshall, Jr., to modify his alimony obligation. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) exceeded the scope of this court's remand orders in her prior appeal, (2) failed to abide by the law of the case as established in the decisions of both the trial court and this court in her prior appeal, (3) allowed the plaintiff to claim that his alimony obligation should be determined using reasonable compensation when he had not made that argument at any time prior to the hearing on remand, (4) used reasonable compensation as a basis for calculating the plaintiff's alimony obligation when the parties' separation agreement (agreement) did not provide for that method, and (5) retroactively modified the plaintiff's alimony obligation for a period of nearly four years prior to the plaintiff's motion to modify. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4160

AC42777 - Silver v. Silver ("In this dissolution matter, the defendant, Trevor Silver, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting a postdissolution motion filed by the plaintiff, Amy Silver, seeking to 'clarify and effectuate' the judgment of dissolution rendered by the court. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly modified the dissolution judgment in granting the plaintiff's motion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4158

SC20282 - Blondeau v. Baltierra (Dissolution of Marriage; Arbitration; Appellate Jurisdiction; Whether Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award Sufficiently Invoked Trial Court's Jurisdiction; Whether Arbitration Award Properly Vacated on Ground that it Included Child Support Orders in Violation of § 46b-66; Whether Judgment Vacating Arbitration Award an Appealable Final Judgment; "This appeal requires the resolution of a series of jurisdictional and merits related issues arising from the arbitration of a marital dissolution action involving an unusual choice of law provision contained in the parties' arbitration agreement. The dispute focuses primarily on the validity of the arbitrator's award dividing the equity in the parties' marital home and assigning responsibility for certain expenses related to child support. The defendant, Michael Baltierra, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion of the plaintiff, Sophie Blondeau, to vacate the arbitration award and denying the defendant's corresponding application to confirm the award. The trial court's decision rests on its determination that (1) the arbitrator exceeded her authority under the arbitration agreement by dividing the equity in the marital home under Connecticut law rather than French law, as prescribed by the parties' premarital agreement, (2) the arbitrator, for the same reasons, also manifestly disregarded the law controlling her decision making, and (3) the award improperly included issues related to child support. We conclude that the arbitrator did not exceed her authority under the arbitration agreement or manifestly disregard the law, but we agree with the trial court that the inclusion of issues related to child support in the award was improper. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")



Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4151

AC41125 - Budrawich v. Budrawich ("The self-represented defendant, Edward Budrawich, Jr., appeals from the trial court's rulings on postjudgment motions filed by both him and the self-represented plaintiff, Kathleen Budrawich. On appeal, the defendant argues that the court improperly (1) denied his motion for reassignment of the plaintiff's motion for order, (2) granted the plaintiff's motion to modify alimony, (3) granted the plaintiff's motion to correct and issued a corrected memorandum of decision, and (4) modified his alimony obligation pursuant to his motion to modify alimony. We agree with the defendant's first and second claims and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the court. In light of our resolution of the defendant's first two claims, we need not address his third claim and we conclude that his fourth claim is rendered moot.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4142

AC42497 - Giordano v. Giordano (Dissolution of marriage; motion to modify alimony; motion for contempt; "In this postmarital dissolution matter, the defendant, Ray Giordano, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motions of the plaintiff, Nancy Giordano, for modification and for contempt relating to the defendant's failure to pay alimony. We affirm the judgment of the trial court related to the plaintiff's motion for modification of alimony, and we reverse the court's finding of contempt against the defendant.")

AC41360 - Davis v. Davis (Dissolution of marriage; whether trial court provided defendant with adequate notice that it might dispose of plaintiff's motion for modification of alimony at certain hearing; "In this postdissolution matter, the defendant, Alexander F. Davis, Sr., appeals from a number of postdissolution decisions by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Amy A. Davis. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) improperly granted the plaintiff's postjudgment motion to modify alimony without providing sufficient notice in violation of his right to due process, (2) improperly ordered the defendant to reimburse the plaintiff for expenses related to septic system repairs at the marital residence, and (3) abused its discretion under General Statutes § 46b-224 by calculating the defendant's outstanding child support obligations without crediting the time that the minor child was in his custody. We agree with the defendant's third claim and, accordingly, affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4133

AC42411 - Weaver v. Sena (Modification of custody; "The plaintiff, Petricia S. Weaver, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion filed by the defendant, Scott A. Sena, to modify custody of the parties' minor child. The plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in granting the defendant primary physical custody of, and final decision-making authority in matters pertaining to, the parties' minor child, who was then eleven years old and had resided with the plaintiff since his birth, in the absence of a finding of a material change in circumstances and in contravention of the minor child's best interests. The plaintiff also contends that the trial court violated her constitutional right to due process by 'unduly limiting her case-in-chief.' We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4125

AC42438 - Parisi v. Niblett (Child custody; motion to modify; "The plaintiff, Jason S. Parisi, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his motion for modification of Florida child custody orders on jurisdictional grounds. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) failed to conclude that it had subject matter jurisdiction to modify the Florida judgment pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-56 (a), and (2) deferred to the Florida court and determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction regarding the plaintiff's motion for modification without first conducting an evidentiary hearing. We do not agree with the plaintiff's first claim, but agree with his second claim. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4088

AC42635 - Fazio v. Fazio (Dissolution of marriage; "The plaintiff, Madeline G. Fazio, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, Colin, J., granting the motion filed by the defendant, Michael A. Fazio, to modify or to terminate his alimony obligation. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred by (1) holding that it was bound by the prior finding of the trial court, Emons, J., of cohabitation pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-86 (b), (2) failing to make a factual finding as to the parties' intent regarding whether article 3.2 (a) of their separation agreement incorporated the remedial aspects of § 46b-86 (b), and (3) exceeding the scope of the remand order in the prior appeal of this case; see Fazio v. Fazio, 162 Conn. App. 236, 250–51, 131 A.3d 1162, cert. denied, 320 Conn. 922, 132 A.3d 1095 (2016) (Fazio I); by making factual findings that were contrary to the clear and unambiguous language of article 3.2 (b), essentially reforming that article of the agreement, when that article was not at issue. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4073

AC42576 - Brown v. Brown (Dissolution of marriage; "This appeal concerns the judgment rendered by the trial court when it adjudicated two postdissolution motions filed by the defendant, Brett Brown. The plaintiff, Jessica Brown, appeals from the decision of the court ordering her to reimburse the defendant certain unallocated alimony and child support (unallocated support), claiming that the court misinterpreted the parties' separation agreement. The defendant cross appeals from the court's denial of his motion for modification of child support. We agree with the plaintiff's claim but reject the defendant's claim. We, therefore, reverse that portion of the trial court's judgment with respect to its order to the plaintiff to reimburse the defendant unallocated support and affirm the trial court's judgment with respect to its denial of the defendant's motion to modify child support.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4066

AC43109 - D. S. v. R. S. (Application for relief from abuse; domestic violence restraining order; whether trial court erred in issuing domestic violence restraining order pursuant to statutory (§ 53a-181d) definition of stalking rather than definition of stalking in Princess Q. H. v. Robert H. (150 Conn. App. 105); "The defendant, R. S., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the application of the self-represented plaintiff, D. S., for relief from abuse and issuing a domestic violence restraining order pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-15. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court incorrectly based its decision on (1) the wrong definition of stalking and (2) testimony of the plaintiff given on behalf of her minor child (child). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42477 - Flood v. Flood (Dissolution of marriage; motions for modification of child support; "The defendant, Robert Flood, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Bethany Flood, on her postjudgment motion for modification of child support. The defendant claims that the trial court erred in granting the plaintiff's motion (1) by predicating its ruling on a finding that there had been a substantial change in circumstances since the date of the last court order requiring him to pay child support, as agreed to by the parties and entered by the court as part of the judgment dissolving their marriage, (2) by failing to consider or respond to the needs of the child when fashioning its modified child support order, and thus merely ordering an improper wealth transfer between the parties, and (3) by entering its modified order without ruling on the defendant's conflicting, simultaneously argued motion for modification of child support. We reject the defendant's claims and, thus, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4034

AC41795 - Moyher v. Moyher (Marital dissolution; claim that trial court improperly found that certain real property located in New Hampshire was marital asset; "The defendant, Paul J. Moyher III, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Sarah A. Moyher, and entering related financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) finding that certain real property located in New Hampshire was a marital asset and awarding the plaintiff 40 percent of its value, (2) not allowing the defendant to present evidence at trial regarding a prenuptial agreement between the parties, and (3) ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff her awarded share of the New Hampshire real property, $150,750 plus interest, within five months of the dissolution judgment. We disagree with the defendant's first two claims; however, we agree that the court abused its discretion in ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff her share of the New Hampshire property within five months of the dissolution judgment. Accordingly, we reverse that part of the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4025

AC41942 - Rosario v. Rosario (Dissolution of marriage; motion for contempt; motion for continuance; "In this postdissolution of marriage matter, the self-represented plaintiff, Alvin J. Rosario II, appeals from the orders of the trial court granting two motions for contempt, docket entry #154.79 (motion #154.79) and docket entry #156 (motion #156), filed by the defendant, Thyjuan Rosario. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred when it rendered judgment finding him in contempt because (1) those motions for contempt previously had been denied by the court and, thus, they were not properly before the court, and (2) the defendant did not serve the plaintiff with motion #156. Because we conclude, with respect to the first claim, that the court's January 19, 2017 order effectively vacated its January 3, 2017 order denying the motions, and, with respect to the second claim, that it is inadequately briefed, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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