Officially released July 17, 2018.
Short version: nothing to see here. Both “abuse of discretion and “clearly erroneous” are difficult standards to meet when the trial court does its job right.
The ten-year marriage of the parties began in 2005. Wife was eighteen years old and Defendant was thirty-eight at the time of the marriage. The parties married within three weeks of meeting online. Wife testified that she had an affair, but it was not sexual in nature. Wife testified that Husband was controlling and abusive. The parties had three children.
The trial court dissolved the marriage based on irretrievable breakdown without a finding that either party was more responsible than the other and issued orders regarding payment of alimony and distribution of property, including a term of rehabilitative alimony.
Defendant Husband appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) in finding that neither party was more responsible for the breakdown of the marriage and (2) in entering financial awards that favored Plaintiff Wife.
The standard of review of factual findings regarding cause for the breakdown of the marriage is the “clearly erroneous” standard. The Appellate Court found that the trial court’s findings were supported by the evidence and not clearly erroneous.
The standard of review for the financial award is abuse of discretion, with every reasonable presumption in favor of the correctness of the trial court’s decision. The Appellate Court found that the trial court properly considered the appropriate statutory factors under both § 46b-81 and § 46b-82.
An interesting aside: The Appellate Court relegated the fact the parties’ children were in state custody and no findings were made as to child custody to a footnote.