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 Appellate Court Opinions

by Roy, Christopher


AC40675 - St. Denis-Lima v. St. Denis ("The plaintiff, Daelte St. Denis-Lima, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following the court's granting of the motion to dismiss that had been filed by the defendant, Thomas J. St. Denis. The plaintiff claims that (1) the court improperly denied her request for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of subject matter jurisdiction, (2) the court's finding of a final judgment of dissolution in the country of Brazil was clearly erroneous, and, alternatively (3) even if Brazil issued a final judgment of dissolution, that judgment should not be recognized under the principle of comity. We disagree with the plaintiff's claims and affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC39903 - Zaniewski v. Zaniewski ("The defendant, Cezary Zaniewski, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Malgorzata Zaniewski. The defendant claims on appeal that the court improperly (1) failed to use the parties' net incomes in calculating its orders of child support and alimony, (2) ordered the defendant to pay alimony in an amount that exceeds his ability to pay, and (3) abused its discretion by crafting inequitable property distribution and alimony orders that 'excessively and unjustifiably favored the plaintiff.'

The trial court's memorandum of decision fails to set forth the factual basis for its financial orders. The trial judge who authored the decision retired shortly after issuing its decision, rendering fruitless the defendant's proper and timely efforts to remedy the decision's lack of findings in order to secure appellate review of his claims. In many cases, an inadequate record would foreclose appellate review of an appellant's claim. Nevertheless, the inadequacy of the record in the present case arises not from any fault attributable to the defendant, but from the trial court's issuance of a memorandum of decision that contained virtually no factual findings that would permit us to review appropriately the defendant's appellate claims. Although we are cognizant that the trial court is entitled to great deference in crafting financial orders in marital dissolution actions, we nevertheless conclude under the unique circumstances presented here that equity requires a new trial. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court with respect to the financial orders and order a new trial.")