BETH KELLER v. RICHARD KELLER, SC 19537
Judicial District of Stamford
Dissolution of Marriage; Whether Appellate Court Properly Affirmed Trial Court Ruling Finding Plaintiff in Contempt for Failing to Provide Defendant with her New Address. The plaintiff filed this dissolution of marriage action in May, 2011, and, shortly thereafter, she moved out of the family residence in Greenwich. The plaintiff then resided in another home in Greenwich until October 16, 2013, when she moved to Cos Cob. On October 24, 2013, the defendant filed a motion alleging that the plaintiff was in contempt for failing to provide him with her new address in violation of the automatic order applicable to parties in a dissolution action set forth in Practice Book § 25-5 (a) (2) and the parties’ court approved parenting plan. Section 25-5 (a) (2) provides that “[a] party vacating the family residence shall notify the other party or the other party's attorney, in writing, within forty-eight hours of such move, of an address where the relocated party can receive communication.” The parenting plan requires each parent to “provide the other with his or her residence address, e-mail address and all telephone and fax numbers at which he or she may regularly be reached, and will promptly provide updates as necessary.” The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for contempt, and the plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Court (158 Conn. App. 538) affirmed the judgment, finding that the parenting plan is clear and unambiguous on its face and that, standing alone, it provided a basis for the trial court’s contempt finding. The Appellate Court noted that even if, as the plaintiff claimed, the defendant knew where her new residence was because she orally provided him with a description of its location and because he had dropped off the children there on more than one occasion before filing the motion for contempt, the plaintiff did not provide the defendant with all of the required contact information, including the actual address. The Appellate Court noted that an operative address fulfills many purposes, including mailing, global positioning system location for directions, and the like. Finally, the Appellate Court observed that, while it did not need to decide whether § 25-5 (a) (2) provided an alternative basis for the contempt finding, the plaintiff’s construction of the Practice Book section as requiring a party to provide information about a new residence only after the initial move from the family home, and not after any subsequent moves, may be unworkable and lead to bizarre results. The plaintiff appeals, and the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly affirmed the trial court’s judgment finding the plaintiff in contempt.