A Connecticut case, Baker v. Baker, succinctly laid out the basic legal rules regarding visitation, custody, and alimony in CT. Sometimes a quick overview of the law is enough to help figure out what the law is and how it might apply to a particular issue. For help on these subjects we look to the court’s summation of the law in the following:

“Under Connecticut law, the trial court’s discretion as to custody and visitation is not limited to [adopting the specific custodial arrangement sought by one of the parties]. It has long been established that the court has an independent duty to inquire into custody arrangements even when the parties are in agreement … Further, it has been recognized that in contested custody proceedings, the interests of one or both of the parents may be adverse to the best interests of the child.” Feldman v. Feldman, 37 Conn.App. 397, 403–04 (1995).”

“In any custody order, the court is bound by what is in the best interests of the child. Simons v. Simons, 172 Conn. 341 (1977), Krasnow v. Krasnow, 140 Conn. 254, 260 (1953), C.G.S. § 46b–56. The rights, wishes and desires of the parents are also a factor to be taken into account. Both considerations, however, must be subordinated to the best interest of the child. Ridgeway v. Ridgeway, 180 Conn. 533, 541 (1980).”

Awarding Alimony

Regarding alimony, C.G.S. § 46b–82 states: “At the time of entering the decree, the Superior Court may order either of the parties to pay alimony to the other, in addition to or in lieu of an award pursuant to section 46b–81. The order may direct that security be given therefore on such terms as the court may deem desirable, including an order pursuant to subsection (b) of this section or an order to either party to contract with a third party for periodic payments or payments contingent on a life to the other party.

The court may order that a party obtain life insurance as such security unless such party proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that such insurance is not available to such party, such party is unable to pay the cost of such insurance or such party is uninsurable.

In determining whether alimony shall be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court shall hear the witnesses, if any, of each party, except as provided in subsection (a) of section 46b–51, shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties and the award, if any, which the court may make pursuant to section 46b–81, and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent’s securing employment.”

Time Limited Alimony

“General Statutes § 46b–82(a) provides in relevant part: “In determining whether alimony shall be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court shall … consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the … dissolution of the marriage …” The court in Marmo v. Marmo, 131 Conn.App. 43 (2011) held: “The traditional purpose of alimony is to meet one’s continuing duty to support … [C]ourts have begun to limit the duration of alimony awards in order to encourage the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient.” Roach v. Roach, 20 Conn.App. 500, 506, 568 A.2d 1037 (1990).

“[U]nderlying the concept of time limited alimony is the sound policy that such awards may provide an incentive for the spouse receiving support to use diligence in procuring training or skills necessary to attain self-sufficiency … A time limited alimony award generally is for rehabilitative purposes but other reasons may also support this type of alimony award.” (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Ippolito v. Ippolito, 28 Conn.App. 745, 752, 612 A.2d 131, cert. denied, 224 Conn. 905, 615 A.2d 1047 (1992).

“Another valid purpose for time limited alimony is to provide interim support until a future event occurs that makes such support less necessary or unnecessary … In Wolfburg, [supra, 27 Conn.App. at 402] our review of the record revealed that the time limited alimony award was found to provide interim support until the minor child reached the age of majority … This constituted a valid purpose for an award of time limited alimony.” Ippolito v. Ippolito, supra, at 752–53.” Id. at 47–48.”

Written by: Kyle M. Buonocore

Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Monroe, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Haven, Newton, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Redding, Ridgefield, Seymour, Shelton, Sherman, Southbury, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Woodbridge.

If you have any questions, or need some advice on a family law issue such as divorce, custody, or alimony, please don’t hesitate to contact Joseph Maya and the other attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation.