Connecticut Appellate Court affirms trial court's clarification of a visitation order and reverse its clarification of a property order in divorce action

2011-08-26 | Philip R. Dunn
prdunn@jacksonokeefe.com

Category: Divorce

Philip R. Dunn

Connecticut Divorce Lawyer West Hartford Wethersfield Farmington Southington East Haddam Cromwell

 

Connecticut Appellate Court affirms trial court's clarification of a visitation order and reverse its clarification of a property order in divorce action

 

Section 46b-56 permits a court to modify child custody and visitation orders at any time. Although the

defendant repeatedly raises the specter of a four month jurisdictional limitation on the court's authority to modify the judgment with respect to the custody and visitation orders, in his brief to this court, he correctly concedes that the ''court has continuing jurisdiction to modify a visitation order.'' Even if Judge Gordon's order was timely, the defendant maintains that the court improperly characterized its order changing the defendant's visitation rights as a clarification rather than as a modification. If, as he argues, it was a modification, it was improper because, prior to modifying an order of child custody, a court must hold a hearing and make the requisite findings of fact. See Berglass v. Berglass, 71 Conn. App. 771, 782-83, 804 A.2d 889 (2002).

 

Because the record in the present case discloses several ambiguities, it supports the court's decision to correct the visitation stipulation. It is uncontested that the stipulation provides for the children to have primary residence with the plaintiff. The defendant's interpretation of the stipulation allows him to have parenting time every weekend and Tuesdays and Thursdays, including overnights on those occasions when the defendant has someone available to get the children ready for school. Such an arrangement would be inconsistent with the children having their primary residence with the plaintiff.

Additionally, the stipulation refers to plans for holidays, such as Mother's Day and Father's Day, and provides for special arrangements in case that day ''does not fall on that parent's weekend . . . .'' (Emphasis added.) The stipulation also provides: ''In the event any of the holidays or vacations result in one parent being scheduled to have the minor children for three weekends in a row, then the weekend which is not associated with the holiday or vacation period shall go to the parent who does not have them for that holiday or vacation.'' In these various respects, the terms of the stipulation are inconsistent with the defendant's present position. Even more important, at the August, 2008 hearing

before Judge Gordon, there was no dispute that the stipulation reflected a scrivener's error and that the

visitation should be every other weekend. Both the defendant and his attorney stated, on the record, that the defendant had the children with him every other weekend. The defendant's attorney acknowledged that there was a scrivener's error in the stipulation. Although the record does not disclose why the court did not make the requested changes in August, 2008, it provides ample support for the court's decision to issue an orderof a clarification on January 25, 2010.

 

For more information and resources on Connecticut divorce lawyers, see our divorce resources page: http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP130/130AP547.pdf

 

 

 Connecticut Divorce, Family Law and Mediation Attorneys

 

 If you are coping with Connecticut divorce or a paternity matter, or require a modification to resolve critical problems that have arisen afterward, it is essential to work with a Connecticut divorce lawyer who inspires your confidence and trust. Jackson O'Keefe understands what you are going through and understands the life-changing dynamics of families going through divorce. In divorces, and other family law matters, we understand how important it is to protect your rights and interests, and those of your children as well. In some situations, this may call for a more pragmatic approach designed to achieve desired solutions with a minimum of expense, delay and damage. In others, aggressively protecting your rights and taking your custody or alimony dispute to trial may be called for. In either case, we will not lose sight of satisfying your long-term goals. 

 

Jackson O'Keefe represents and counsels individuals relative to Connecticut prenuptial agreements, separation, and Connecticut divorce and child custody issues. The attorneys in our family law section have been recognized by the Connecticut courts for their expertise and have acted as Special Master's assisting other attorneys and individuals to resolve Connecticut divorce and child custody claims. Our wide experience in real estate and estate planning enables us to counsel our family law clients relative to a wide variety of legal issues. Jackson O'Keefe attorneys are dedicated to the practice of family law including divorce, legal separation, property division, custody, child and spousal support, paternity, litigation, pretrial litigation, mediation, pre-marriage issues, and post-divorce issues. Attorneys in our firm are adept at analyzing complicated financial situations, particularly complex business valuation issues. 

 

Jackson O'Keefe Connecticut Divorce Attorneys and Child Custody Lawyers

Jackson O'Keefe handles divorce matters throughout the State of Connecticut, including clients in West Hartford, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, Old Lyme, Ellington, Tolland, North Haven, Wallingford, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Bethlehem, Moodus, East Haddam, Hadlyme, Madison, Middletown, Hartford, Southington, Plantsville, Hartford County, New Haven County, Middlesex County, New London County and Litchfield County

 

For more information on the case discussed above see http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP130/130AP541.pdf

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