Officially released October 29, 2019.
In Short: § 46b-62 is not limited exclusively to ability to pay.
A very high conflict custody matter with a history of protracted litigation resulted in this self-represented appeal.
In the appeal Mother made a fourteenth amendment claim on appeal that the Appellate Court deemed inadequately briefed. Mother claimed that denial of declaratory judgment regarding various portions of the United States and Connecticut Constitutions constituted error. The Appellate Court held these claims to be meritless.
The Appellate Court held there had been no error in the trial court’s finding that there was no substantial change in circumstances warranting granting Mother’s motion for modification.
The Appellate Court found no abuse of discretion in an award of $3,500 of legal fees, noting that the test for legal fees goes beyond ability to pay. “The test for an award of attorney’s fees pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-62 is not based only on a consideration of whether the party moving for an award of such fees has ample liquid assets. If the prospective recipient of the fee award does not possess such assets, then § 46b-62 requires that the trial court look to and examine the total financial resources of the respective parties and the other criteria set forth in § 46b-82 to determine whether it would be equitable to award attorney’s fees under the circumstances. The criteria set forth in § 46b-82 include “the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, earning capacity, vocational skills, education, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties . . . .”