Officially released April 9, 2019.
In short: include your bases for modification in your motion and adequately brief your appeal.
The parties were divorced by separation agreement, sharing joint physical custody of their four children. Husband was to pay $6,700 per month as unallocated support. The deviation was conditioned on Husband’s personal opportunities and his ability to borrow funds to meet his obligations.
Husband previously filed a post judgment motion to increase his parenting time, which was granted in part, and a motion to modify support based on increased parenting time and decreased income, which was denied and not appealed.
Husband filed a second motion to modify his support obligation arguing that he no longer had the ability to borrow money from his current wife and other sources. The trial court denied Husband’s motion on the basis that there was no substantial change in circumstances. The trial court found that Husband’s inability to borrow from certain other sources was demonstrated, but that he was still able to borrow funds from his current wife.
Husband claimed on appeal that the trial court erred in finding that he failed to prove a substantial change in circumstances, arguing that his parenting time had increased, his income had decreased and his ability to borrow had been reduced.
The Appellate Court reviewed for abuse of discretion. It noted the standard to obtain a modification:
To obtain a modification, the moving party must demonstrate that circumstances have changed since the last court order such that it would be unjust or inequitable to hold either party to it. Because the establishment of changed circumstances is a condition precedent to a party’s relief, it is pertinent for the trial court to inquire as to what, if any, new circumstance warrants a modification of the existing order. In making such an inquiry, the trial court’s discretion is essential.
Bolat v. Bolat, 182 Conn. App. 468, 475-76, 190 A.3d 96 (2018).
The Appellate Court rejected both the argument as to decreased income and as to increased parenting time as neither were raised in Husband’s second motion to modify, subject of the appeal. Husband inadequately briefed his claim as to inability to borrow and the bald claim was belied by the evidence that he continued to borrow funds.
The judgment was affirmed.