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Family Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

by Roy, Christopher


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 ยง 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.")