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Family Law

Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3290

AC39231 - Jenkins v. Jenkins ("The plaintiff, Cheryl A. Jenkins, appeals from the trial court's judgment denying her motion to vacate an arbitration award in a dissolution of marriage matter which, in addition to dissolving the marriage, included orders of alimony and a division of the parties' assets and other financial orders. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred when it refused to vacate the arbitrator's award because the arbitrator (1) precluded the testimony of an expert witness in violation of General Statutes § 52-418 (a) (3), and (2) treated one party more favorably than the other in violation of General Statutes § 52-418 (a) (2). We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36210 - Reinke v. Singer ("This appeal returns to the Appellate Court on remand from our Supreme Court for resolution of the claims raised by the plaintiff, Gail Reinke. Reinke v. Sing, 328 Conn. 376, 179 A.3d 769 (2018). The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court after it reissued several financial orders that were part of an original judgment that dissolved her marriage to the defendant, Walter Sing. The plaintiff claims that the court erred (1) by failing to find that the defendant committed fraud when he submitted inaccurate financial affidavits to the court at the time of the original dissolution judgment, (2) with respect to its alimony award, (3) with respect to its distribution of property, (4) with respect to its award of attorney's fees, and (5) by failing in its financial orders to promote full and frank disclosure in financial affidavits and by failing to address adequately the defendant's omission of substantial income and assets from the financial affidavits that he filed at the time of the original dissolution judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3280

AC36991 - Forgione v. Forgione (Dissolution of marriage; "This case returns to us on remand from our Supreme Court. The defendant appeals from the judgment of the trial court opening the judgment of dissolution and reissuing financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in its method of dividing the parties' assets because it failed to take into account an advance payment made by the plaintiff to the defendant. Although the defendant raises this claim for the first time on appeal, we exercise our discretion to consider the claim on the merits, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3273

AC39759 - LeSueur v. LeSueur ("In this postmarital dissolution appeal, the plaintiff, Janine LeSueur, appeals from the postjudgment orders of the trial court granting the motion for modification of custody and child support filed by the defendant, Andrew LeSueur, and denying her motion for modification of unallocated alimony and child support. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that the court, Tindill, J., (1) abused its discretion by granting the defendant's motion to modify custody and child support because the child support order is predicated on clearly erroneous factual findings and because it terminated the defendant's child support obligation retroactively without sufficient information to evaluate the parties' financial circumstances, and without considering that she continued to incur and pay expenses for the parties' son from September 2, 2015, until the date of the hearing; (2) misconstrued the parties' separation agreement (agreement) regarding the parties' obligations to pay for their children's postsecondary education; and (3) abused its discretion by denying her motion to modify unallocated alimony and support. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3245

AC38994 - Becue v. Becue ("In this postdissolution matter, the defendant, Mark Becue, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, resolving several of the parties' postjudgment motions. The defendant claims that the court improperly: (1) determined the amount of his child support and his arrearage obligations due to four specific errors; (2) ordered him to pay $50,000 toward the attorney's fees of the plaintiff, Julie Becue; (3) declined to hold the plaintiff in contempt; and (4) held him in contempt for failing to make certain child support payments. The plaintiff, Julie Becue, cross appeals from the court's judgment. Specifically, she claims that the court erred when it denied her motion for contempt, number 157, in which she alleged that the defendant improperly had engaged in self-help by repeatedly modifying or withholding his child support payments. We disagree with all of the defendant's claims, and we agree with the claim raised in the plaintiff's cross appeal. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40521 - Krahel v. Czoch ("The defendant, Mariusz Czoch, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Wioletta Krahel. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) sanctioned him for violating a discovery order that precluded him from testifying about his current financial condition and business, (2) entered orders for arbitration and mediation relative to personal property leaving the dispute unresolved at the time of judgment, and (3) awarded a chose in action and obligation to repay a debt. We agree in part with the defendant's second claim and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3246

AC41531 - In re Zakai F. ("The respondent mother, Kristi F., appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion for reinstatement of guardianship of her minor son, Zakai F. The respondent claims that the court violated her fundamental right to the care and custody of Zakai under the United States constitution by denying her motion (1) without a showing that she was unfit, and (2) without a finding by clear and convincing evidence that Zakai would be at a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm if the current guardianship of him by his aunt, the respondent's sister, were terminated. The respondent additionally claims that the court abused its discretion in concluding that her reinstatement as guardian was not in Zakai's best interest. We disagree with the respondent's claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3237

AC40683 - Li v. Yaggi ("The self-represented plaintiffs, Winston Y. Li and Liping Wang, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the defendant, Valerie M. Yaggi, individually and as administratrix of the estate of Henry Yaggi, on the plaintiffs' two count complaint alleging breach of the parties' purchase and sale agreement and breach of contract. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court (1) erroneously found that the plaintiffs failed to diligently pursue a written mortgage commitment, (2) erroneously found that the plaintiffs failed to give notice of their inability to obtain financing for the real estate purchase by the agreed upon commitment date, and (3) erred in awarding the defendant attorney's fees. The defendant raises the doctrine of equitable estoppel as an alternative ground for affirmance of the court's decision. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3234

AC40008, AC40047 - Kirwan v. Kirwan ("In these consolidated appeals arising out of a marital dissolution action, we must determine, inter alia, whether an arbitrator's factual finding regarding the gross income of a party, which was made in the course of determining alimony and the equitable distribution of marital assets, is binding on the court with respect to its subsequent adjudication of child support, an issue that was statutorily and contractually excluded from the arbitration. We conclude that it was proper for the trial court to make its own independent findings regarding gross income, unfettered by the previous findings of the arbitrator.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3208

AC40004 - Guddo v. Guddo ("The self-represented plaintiff, Anthony V. Guddo, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying the postdissolution motion for contempt that he brought against the defendant, Kimberli M. Guddo. The plaintiff claims that because of a conflict of interest related to the defendant's counsel, the hearing on the motion for contempt was unfair. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3197

AC38957 - Brochard v. Brochard ("The defendant, Britt Brochard, appeals from the postdissolution judgment of the trial court rendered after a hearing on financial issues raised by the parties in multiple motions for contempt and modification. The self-represented defendant's brief is not a model of clarity, but after a thorough review of the record and the parties' briefs, we have divined that the defendant claims that the court erred in (1) denying her motion for contempt alleging that the plaintiff, Thomas Brochard, had failed to pay his share of the minor children's medical and extracurricular activity expenses; (2) denying her motion for contempt alleging that the plaintiff had violated orders related to the mortgage on the former marital home; (3) denying her motion for contempt alleging that the plaintiff had failed to pay her one half of the amounts of 2010 tax refunds he received; (4) denying her motion for modification of the court's order allocating the parties' obligation pertaining to payment of the guardian ad litem's fees; (5) granting the plaintiff's motion for modification of child support, thereby decreasing his obligation, and failing to consider her cross motion for modification, which sought an increase in the amount of child support; and (6) granting her motion for contempt regarding certain alimony payments, but failing to order the plaintiff to pay her the full amount she was owed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39719 - Fredo v. Fredo ("The defendant, Kristin Fredo, appeals from the judgment of the trial court on several postdissolution motions rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Thomas Fredo. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) granted the plaintiff's motion to dismiss the defendant's motion for modification of child support for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, while also denying the motion for modification, (2) disposed of the defendant's motion for an accounting, (3) granted the plaintiff's motion to quash a subpoena duces tecum, and (4) awarded attorney's fees to the plaintiff. We reverse the judgment of the court granting the plaintiff's motion to dismiss the defendant's motion for modification and awarding attorney's fees to the plaintiff, and we dismiss, as moot, the remainder of the appeal.")

AC40599 - Peixoto v. Peixoto ("The defendant, Mark M. Peixoto, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the postjudgment motion for modification of alimony filed by the plaintiff, Katherine B. Peixoto. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in granting the modification of alimony after it 'improperly construed the legal standards set forth by the Connecticut Supreme Court in Dan v. Dan, [315 Conn. 1, 105 A.3d 118 (2014)].' We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3187

AC39345 - Varoglu v. Sciarrino ("The plaintiff, Lale Varoglu, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving her marriage to the defendant, Joseph Sciarrino. The plaintiff claims that the court erred in finding certain facts and in fashioning its orders pertaining to the distribution of the equity in the marital home by failing to apply the ‘preservation’ criteria in General Statutes § 46b-81 (c). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3180

AC39395 - Keusch v. Keusch ("The defendant, Kenneth Keusch, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Lisa Keusch, and entering related financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) erroneously computed his presumptive minimum child support obligation and (2) abused its discretion by ordering the defendant to pay nonmodifiable unallocated alimony and support. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3156

AC40172 - Merk-Gould v. Gould ("The defendant, Robert F. Gould, Jr., appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Linda Merk-Gould, and entering certain financial and property orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court: (1) improperly ordered tax-free alimony to the plaintiff; (2) erroneously found that the defendant had an annual earning capacity of $200,000; (3) improperly awarded the plaintiff 60 percent of the pretax amount of the defendant’s pension; (4) abused its discretion in valuing the defendant’s interests in several private equity companies on the basis of the cost of the assets at the time of purchase, rather than the value of the assets as of the date of the dissolution; (5) abused its discretion in awarding the plaintiff attorney’s fees; and (6) abused its discretion in denying his motion for a mistrial. Because we agree with the defendant’s second and fourth claims, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial on the financial and property orders.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3140

AC38718 - Doyle v. Chaplen ("On appeal, Chaplen claims that the trial court erred in granting Doyle’s motion to open the judgment of paternity in the support action for the purpose of declaring him not to be the father of the minor child. Specifically, he claims that the trial court improperly (1) found that Doyle signed the acknowledgment of paternity on the basis of a material mistake of fact, (2) concluded that opening the judgment was in the best interests of the minor child after making a clearly erroneous finding that there was no parent-like relationship between Chaplen and the minor child, and (3) applied the law regarding laches and equitable estoppel. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3111

SC19870 - Shirley P. v. Norman P. ("The plaintiff, Shirley P., brought the present action, seeking the dissolution of her marriage to the defendant, Norman P., after the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted her. While this dissolution action was pending, the defendant was convicted of several criminal offenses arising from the alleged assault. The defendant appealed from the judgment of conviction in that case to the Appellate Court. Thereafter, while the criminal appeal was pending, the dissolution trial commenced. At that trial, the court allowed the plaintiff to present evidence of the criminal conviction. More specifically, the court ruled that the defendant’s conviction had preclusive effect in this dissolution action under the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Consequently, following the trial in the present case, the court concluded, solely on the basis of the evidence of the criminal conviction, that the defendant exclusively was responsible for the marital breakdown. Accordingly, the court entered a property division award that heavily favored the plaintiff. The defendant then filed the present appeal.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3108

AC39970 - Martowska v. White ("The plaintiff, Matthew M. Martowska, appeals from the 2016 postjudgment order of the trial court that, although allowing the plaintiff to inspect a psychological evaluation performed in 2012 as part of a then pending proceeding regarding the parties’ custody/visitation matter, prevented the plaintiff from obtaining a copy of the evaluation. On appeal, the plaintiff raises a number of claims regarding the court’s order prohibiting the release of a copy of the 2012 evaluation. We conclude that the postjudgment order at issue is not a final judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")

AC40540 - Riccio v. Riccio ("The plaintiff, James Riccio, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the defendant, Lisa Riccio. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) abused its discretion in making its financial orders because, in their entirety, they favored the defendant; (2) erred in applying the present division method of valuation to the distribution of the parties’ defined benefit plans; and (3) erred in its treatment of the plaintiff’s pay-status pension and the defendant’s nonpay-status pension. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38711 - Taylor v. Taylor ("The plaintiff, James Taylor, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his petition for visitation filed pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-59. Although the plaintiff raises multiple claims on appeal, only one merits discussion—namely, his contention that the court improperly determined that he had not satisfied his burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the denial of visitation would cause real and substantial harm to the minor child. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3088

AC39538 - Conroy v. Idlibi ("The defendant, Ammar A. Idlibi, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Katie N. Conroy. The defendant claims that the court erred (1) by finding that neither party bore greater responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage and (2) in making financial awards that were favorable to the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC40019 - Zilkha v. Zilkha ("In this protracted and bitterly contested dissolution action, the defendant, David Zilkha, appeals from the postjudgment order of the trial court increasing the fees payable to the guardian ad litem. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by (1) refusing to permit evidence of misrepresentations by the guardian ad litem and (2) modifying the hourly rate of the guardian ad litem. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Familiy Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3067

AC39544 - Magsig v. Magsig ("The plaintiff, Kim Magsig, appeals from the denial of her postdissolution motion for contempt. On appeal, she claims that the trial court improperly concluded that the defendant, Michael Magsig, had not violated an indemnification obligation contained in the parties’ separation agreement. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3046

AC38834 - Hall v. Hall ("In this amended appeal, the plaintiff, Hugh F. Hall, appeals from the trial court’s judgment of civil contempt rendered against him because he, in violation of an order of the court, unilaterally withdrew funds from a joint bank account and deposited them into his personal savings account, and because the parties placed the funds in an account that did not meet the requirements of the court order. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly held him in contempt although he allegedly relied on the advice of counsel when he withdrew the funds, and (2) improperly denied the parties’ joint motion to open and vacate the judgment of contempt. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3026

AC38225 - Hamburg v. Hamburg ("In this protracted postmarital dissolution action, the defendant, Jeffrey R. Hamburg, appeals from the judgments of the trial court (1) ordering him to pay to the estate of the deceased plaintiff, Barbara B. Hamburg (decedent), funds he had misappropriated from his children's education accounts, and (2) granting the motion to intervene filed on behalf of his daughter, Barbara A. Hamburg (Ali). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) denied his motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and (2) granted the motion to intervene. We agree that the trial court erred when it denied the defendant's motion to dismiss but conclude that it properly granted Ali's motion to intervene. We, therefore, reverse in part and affirm in part the judgments of the trial court.")

AC39832 - Zilkha v. Zilkha ("The defendant, David Zilkha, has brought multiple postjudgment appeals in this exceedingly bitter and protracted dissolution litigation. His present appeal arises out of this court's judgment, holding that the trial court was without authority to disburse funds owned by the defendant that were being held in a court-ordered escrow account. See Zilkha v. Zilkha, 159 Conn. App. 167, 175, 123 A.3d 439 (2015). On appeal, the defendant claims that by denying his 'motion to turn over—postjudgment,' the trial court disregarded an order of this court by failing to effectuate the return of his funds to the escrow account. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37788 - Bolat v. Bolat ("The plaintiff, Jean-Pierre Bolat, appeals from certain postdissolution orders denying his motion for child support and finding him in contempt. On appeal, the plaintiff argues that the court erred in (1) denying his motion for child support and in finding no substantial change in the parties' financial circumstances since the date of judgment despite an increase in the income of the defendant, Yumi S. Bolat, and (2) finding him in contempt for failing to pay extracurricular activity expenses. We agree with the plaintiff as to both claims and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39969 - Kyle S. v. Jayne K. ("In this protracted domestic litigation, arising out of a dissolution of marriage action and a separate application for relief from abuse, the plaintiff/respondent, Kyle S., appeals from postjudgment orders of the court rendered in favor of the defendant/applicant, Jayne K. On appeal, Kyle S. claims that (1) Jayne K. failed to meet her burden of proof with respect to her application for relief from abuse filed pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-15, her application for an emergency ex parte order of custody filed pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-56f and her motion for modification of custody filed pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-56, (2) the court committed plain error by accepting the parties' waiver of the minor child's privileged mental health records and admitting the records into evidence and (3) the court improperly delegated its authority to decide Kyle S.'s parenting time and custodial rights to a nonjudicial entity. We agree with Kyle S.'s third claim and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgments of the trial court")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2999

AC39452, AC39814 - Thomasi v. Thomasi ("These appeals arise from the dissolution of marriage between the plaintiff, Tracy M. Thomasi, and the defendant, Edward J. Thomasi, Sr. In AC 39452, the plaintiff appeals from the postdissolution order of the trial court regarding the division of the defendant’s defined benefit pension plan. In her appeal, the plaintiff argues that the court erred in determining that the term ‘marital portion,’ as used in the parties’ marital dissolution agreement regarding a division of the defendant’s defined benefit pension plan, clearly and unambiguously provided for the coverture method to be utilized in calculating the marital portion. We conclude that the term, under the limited circumstances of this case, contains a latent ambiguity, and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39208 - Asia M. v. Geoffrey M. ("The state of Connecticut appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Geoffrey M., Jr., affirming in part the decision of the family support magistrate (magistrate) that opened an acknowledgment of paternity. On appeal, the state claims that the court erred in concluding that (1) Ragin v. Lee, 78 Conn. App. 848, 829 A.2d 93 (2003), provided a nonstatutory ground for opening an acknowledgment of paternity, apart from the statutory grounds set forth in General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 46b-172 (a) (2); and (2) the magistrate had the inherent authority to grant the plaintiff’s motion to open the judgment on the basis of the best interests of the child. We agree with the department and, accordingly, reverse the judgments of the trial court.")

AC39643 - Battistotti v. Suzanne A. ("In this protracted and bitterly contested family matter, the plaintiff father, Marco Battistotti, appeals from the judgment rendered by the court following a ten day trial on his custody action filed against the defendant mother, Suzanne A. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court: (1) improperly found that his earning capacity was $174,000 per year, (2) erred in failing to consider how its orders impacted his expenses, particularly the rental of an apartment in Greenwich used solely for parenting time, and (3) abused its discretion in requiring that the plaintiff’s parenting time take place only within the town of Greenwich. We agree with the plaintiff’s second claim and conclude that the trial court abused its discretion. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment with respect to the child support orders and remand the matter for further proceedings on the issue of calculation of child support. We affirm the judgment in all other respects.")


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