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Family Law

Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5249

AC45141 - L. L. v. M. B. ("The plaintiff, L. L., on behalf of her minor daughter, N. R., appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing her application for a domestic violence restraining order pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2021) § 46b-15, as amended by Public Acts 2021, No. 21-78. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly dismissed her application on the basis that she was not eligible for relief because she did not fall within the definition of "[f]amily or household member" as set forth in General Statutes § 46b-38a (2). We reject the plaintiff's claim that the court improperly determined that she did not fall within the definition of family or household member but conclude that the form of the judgment is improper and, therefore, remand this case with direction to deny the plaintiff's application.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5216

AC44984 - Mazza v. Mazza ("The defendant, Samuel T. Mazza, Jr., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the postjudgment motion for contempt filed by the plaintiff, Wendy M. Mazza. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) granted the plaintiff’s motion for contempt and (2) ordered alternative relief concerning the defendant’s real property. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5206

AC44278 - Moore v. Moore (Dissolution of marriage; postjudgment motion to modify alimony and child support; "The defendant, Justin Moore, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his postjudgment motion to modify the alimony and child support orders that were entered following the dissolution of his marriage to the self-represented plaintiff, Jennifer Moore. On appeal, the defendant argues that the court improperly denied his motion to modify these orders. We agree with the defendant that the court improperly denied his motion insofar as he sought a modification of the child support order and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the court with respect to this claim and remand the case for a new hearing with respect to the motion to modify the child support order. With respect to the court's denial of the motion insofar as the defendant sought a modification of the alimony order, we affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC44703 - Hebrand v. Hebrand (Dissolution of marriage; whether trial court improperly denied defendant's motion to open and vacate prior trial court's postjudgment modification of plaintiff's alimony obligation; "The defendant, Annika Hebrand, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open a 2017 postjudgment modification, following the 2013 dissolution of her marriage to the plaintiff, Karl Anders Hebrand. The defendant claims that (1) the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, in 2017, to modify the dissolution judgment, and (2) the court, in 2020, improperly failed to find fraud in denying her motion to open. Additionally, the defendant set forth a myriad of other claims in support of her efforts to reverse the denial of her motion to open. The plaintiff counters, inter alia, that the defendant's jurisdictional claim is without merit, the court properly determined that the defendant failed to prove her allegations of fraud, and the remainder of her claims are without merit. We agree with the plaintiff, and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court denying the motion to open.")

AC44914 - Delena v. Grachitorena (Petition for visitation; whether trial court erred in denying petition for visitation with minor grandchildren pursuant to statute (§ 46b-59); "The plaintiff, Diane Delena, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her petition for visitation with her two minor grandchildren (children) brought pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-59. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in denying her petition for visitation in that the court improperly applied the factors set forth under § 46b-59 when it determined that the plaintiff did not meet her burden to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that she has a parent-like relationship with the children. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5190

AC44312 - J. Y. v. M. R. (Custody; "In this custody dispute, the defendant, M. R., appeals from the decisions of the trial court adjudicating several postjudgment motions for modification of custody and visitation orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) issued interim orders pending its issuance of final orders vis-a-vis two motions for modification filed in 2018 and 2019, respectively, (2) issued final orders disposing of the two aforesaid motions for modification, (3) denied two motions for modification that she filed in 2021, following the issuance of the final orders, and (4) denied a motion for modification that she filed in 2020, in between the issuance of the interim orders and the final orders. We dismiss, as moot, the portions of the appeal challenging the propriety of the interim orders and the denial of the defendant's motion for modification filed in 2020, and we affirm the remainder of the trial court's decisions.")

AC44752 - V. V. v. V. V. (Application for Relief from Abuse; "The defendant, V. V., appeals from the trial court's May 20, 2021 postjudgment orders, one of which was vacated by the court and one of which reflected that the defendant's counsel withdrew all of her pending motions on the record at a hearing that same day. Because the defendant was not aggrieved by either order, we dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5177

AC44699 - Bialik v. Bialik ("The plaintiff, Jodi Bialik, appeals from the postjudgment ruling of the trial court granting the motion of the defendant, Scott Bialik, for a modification of his alimony obligation. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in (1) failing to consider the impact of funds received by the defendant's dental practice from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); see 15 U.S.C. § 636 (a) (36); and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program; see 15 U.S.C. § 636 (b) (2); both of which are administered by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), in calculating the defendant's annual adjusted gross earnings, as defined in the parties' separation agreement, and (2) its treatment of disability insurance premiums paid by the defendant's business. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5162

AC44541 - Lehane v. Murray (Dissolution of marriage; motion to modify custody of minor child; "In this postdissolution matter, the plaintiff, Danielle Lehane, appeals from the judgment of the trial court modifying the parties' custody of and visitation with their minor child. The court awarded sole legal and physical custody to the defendant, James Murray, and awarded the plaintiff certain visitation rights. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly delegated its judicial authority to a nonjudicial party by giving the defendant the authority to "alter, change or modify" her visitation schedule, (2) exceeded its authority by ordering her to submit to a psychological evaluation and to provide the results to the defendant, and (3) improperly awarded the defendant the right to claim the child as a dependent for income tax purposes where the dissolution judgment included a clear and unambiguous provision awarding the plaintiff the nonmodifiable right to do so. We disagree with the plaintiff's claim that the court improperly delegated its judicial authority to the defendant, but we agree with her other two claims. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5140

AC44304 - Scott v. Scott (Dissolution of marriage; postdissolution motion for contempt; award of attorney's fees pursuant to statute (§ 46b-87); "This appeal stems from postdissolution proceedings in which the defendant, Kyu Scott, moved that the plaintiff, Peter J. Scott, be found in contempt by virtue of his breach of several provisions of the separation agreement (agreement) that was entered into by the parties and incorporated into the judgment dissolving their marriage. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) denied her motion for contempt, (2) rewrote the agreement and retroactively modified a child support order, (3) failed to find an arrearage and enter orders necessary to preserve the integrity of the agreement, (4) determined that the defendant was not entitled to reimbursement for the cost of an out-of-network oral surgeon, and (5) ordered the defendant to pay attorney's fees to the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC44842 - K. D. v. D. D. ("The defendant, D. D., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the application for a civil restraining order pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-15 filed by the plaintiff, K. D. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly issued the civil restraining order because it applied an incorrect legal standard when it determined that he had subjected the plaintiff to a pattern of threatening. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5120

AC44407 - Simms v. Zucco (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) determined that the plaintiff’s service of the notice of her motion to modify alimony was legally sufficient, (2) opened the judgment of dissolution and modified the defendant’s alimony obligation in violation of the automatic bankruptcy stay imposed by 11 U.S.C. § 362 as a result of the defendant’s chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, and (3) increased his alimony obligation and ordered retroactive alimony resulting in a substantial arrearage. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=5077

AC44033 - Olson v. Olson (Dissolution of marriage; motion to dismiss; "The defendant, Brian Matthew Olson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting a motion to dismiss filed by the plaintiff, Cheryl Abbott Olson, in which the court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the parties' spousal support order that had been issued by a court of the United Kingdom. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in dismissing his motion for modification of alimony on the basis that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction, and argues that (1) the court misapplied the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, General Statutes § 46b-301 et seq., in determining that the United Kingdom had continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the spousal support order; (2) the United Kingdom could not have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction because it lost its exclusiveness when the trial court, S. Richards, J., decided motions to modify alimony in 2013; (3) the application of the doctrine of comity demonstrates that Connecticut courts have jurisdiction to modify the foreign country order in this case; (4) the trial court erred in its reliance on this court's decision in Hornblower v. Hornblower, 151 Conn. App. 332, 94 A.3d 1218 (2014); and (5) the court erroneously relied on a United Kingdom statutory instrument, the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (United States of America) Order 2007, in determining that the United Kingdom had continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify the support order. On the basis of our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we agree with the defendant that the court erred in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the spousal support order at issue. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5053

SC20593 - Birkhold v. Birkhold (Dissolution; Alimony; Whether trial court properly included advances on commissions from plaintiff former husband's employment and money earned by and paid to plaintiff's LLC as income subject to alimony under separation agreement; "In this appeal, we are called on to interpret a separation agreement to determine whether draws or advance payments on commissions are loans, and thus do not constitute income for the purposes of awarding alimony. The plaintiff, Stephen Birkhold, appeals from the trial court's decision granting both his motion for modification of alimony and a postjudgment motion for contempt filed by the defendant, Susan Birkhold, which the trial court resolved by finding the plaintiff in contempt and awarding the defendant past due alimony and attorney's fees. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court incorrectly (1) interpreted the parties' separation agreement to conclude that the draws from his employment as a real estate broker were income subject to alimony, (2) interpreted the parties' agreement to conclude that money paid to his limited liability company (LLC) was income subject to alimony, (3) modified his future alimony obligation, (4) found him in contempt for his failure to pay alimony, and (5) awarded the defendant attorney's fees as the prevailing party under the separation agreement. We affirm the trial court's decision in full.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5037

AC44591 - Swain v. Swain (Dissolution of marriage; postjudgment motion to modify custody, child support, visitation and parental access schedule; "The plaintiff, Earl W. Swain, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting in part a postjudgment motion to modify filed by the self-represented defendant, Tina N. Swain. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly modified the existing orders as to visitation, the parental access plan, and child support because the defendant's motion to modify sought only to modify custody. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court")

AC42601 - Szymonik v. Szymonik (Dissolution of marriage; motion for contempt; motion for sanctions; "In this extensively litigated postdissolution matter, the defendant, Peter Szymonik, challenges the judgments of the trial court finding him in contempt on two separate occasions and sanctioning him for engaging in bad faith litigation. On appeal, the defendant presents a myriad of overlapping and intertwined arguments seeking a reversal of the court's judgments. After a careful review of the file, the memoranda of decision, the appellate briefs, and the parties' oral argument before this court, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.")