About Mae Fleischmann

Parenting Education Programs Pass Constitutional Muster

General Statutes § 46b-69b

The Connecticut legislature was concerned with the impact of divorce on minor children, and as such passed a statute allowing the Judicial Department to establish parenting education programs in actions seeking dissolution of marriage. General Statutes § 46b-69b, which came into effect in January 1994, provided the court’s tools to implement courses designed “to educate parents… on the impact on children of the restructuring of families.” Parents had to take part in such a program only once within sixty days of the filing for dissolution of marriage, but participation could be waived by the court.

Supreme Court Case of Connecticut

In a case heard by the Supreme Court of Connecticut, a pro se defendant contested the constitutionality of § 46b-69b, claiming his substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution were violated. After the defendant’s wife filed for divorce, the defendant filed a motion for exemption from the parenting education program, claiming the state impermissibly infringed on “a parent’s fundamental right to exercise case, control, and custody over his or her child.” He further argued that the state lacked a compelling interest to issue an automatic order requiring participation in the program. The trial court denied the motion and upheld the statute, and the defendant appealed.

Dutkiewicz v. Dutkiewicz

After the Court addressed a threshold question of mootness, it moved on to the defendant’s substantive due process claim. The Court needed to determine the level of review to apply, which depended on whether a fundamental right was involved. The Court agreed that strict scrutiny applies when the state interferes with a parent’s decision-making authority with respect to their children. Indeed, there is substantial state and federal case law on this point. However, the statute in question, in this case, did not infringe on a parent’s decision power – rather, it sought to educate and provide information. As the Court stated:

It is clear from the text of the statute that the purpose of the course is to educate parents and provide them with information aimed at lessening the adverse impact on children that may result from the restructuring of the family. … [W]hat the parents choose to do with the information is entirely up to them. … [N]othing in the statute requires parents to change the way that they care for their children; nothing in the statute authorizes the state to deprive parents of control or custody of their children.

Dutkiewicz v. Dutkiewicz, 289 Conn. 362, 380 (2008). Furthermore, children were not directed to participate in the program as well. Because a fundamental right was not implicated, the Court stated rational basis review applied. As long as the purported violation of a right can be “rationally related to a legitimate government purpose,” the law will be upheld. Such review is satisfied “so long as there is a plausible policy reason for the classification.” In this case, the Court determined that rational basis review was satisfied because the law was rationally related to the state’s legitimate interest in promoting the welfare of children. Therefore, the Court affirmed the judgment.

Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

Ever Wonder about Parental Termination, Abandonment, and the Best Interests of the Child?

Parental termination

Parental termination has been equated to be the civil equivalent of the death penalty. When a court entertains a motion seeking such an action, it partakes in a two-step inquiry: whether, by clear and convincing evidence, one or more statutory grounds for termination exist and termination is in the best interests of the child. In the first part of the inquiry, the court looks to the facts of the case to see whether the party seeking termination has shown at least the presence of one statutory ground for terminating parental rights.

One such ground is abandonment, which constitutes a parent’s “failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to the welfare of the child.” The court will consider attempts at physical and telephonic contact with the child, whether the parent sent gifts or cards on birthdays and the like, and whether the parent provided any financial support for the child. Sporadic attempts are insufficient to be considered “reasonable.”

Child’s Best Interests

As to the second part of the inquiry, the court must determine whether it is in the child’s best interests to maintain parental rights or to terminate them. Best interests include “the child’s interests in sustained growth, development, well-being, and continuity and stability of its environment.” The focus is on what’s best for the child, not what is best for the parent. When a court decides one way or the other, it must consider and make factual findings regarding seven factors found in General Statutes § 45a-717(h), including but not limited to the age of the child and the attempts made by a parent to adjust his or her circumstances, conditions, and conduct so as to allow reunification with the child.

Appellate Court of Connecticut: Post-Judgment Divorce Action

In a post-judgment divorce action, the Appellate Court of Connecticut upheld a lower court’s termination of a father’s parental rights to his son. In that case, the father had exhibited inconsistent, unorthodox, threatening, and criminal behavior that caused the mother to flee the State of New York to hide in Connecticut with their child.

The father abused alcohol and drugs, and after their son was born, he would frequently disappear for prolonged periods of time. While the father was incarcerated, he failed to take advantage of established programs that would have allowed him the opportunity to keep phone contact with his son, and even when he had supervised visitation, he frequently missed scheduled visits. Furthermore, during therapy sessions, the son expressed the desire to not have contact with his father, and the apparent need to learn karate to protect him and his mother should the father attempt to harm them.

The mother sought termination of the father’s parental rights, and the trial court concluded, based on the evidence presented reflecting the above and additional testimony from therapists, other professionals, and additional witnesses, that termination was proper. It determined by clear and convincing evidence that the father abandoned his son, and that reestablishing contact with the child would be detrimental to the child’s well-being and best interests. The father appealed the decision, but the Appellate Court agreed with the lower court’s findings and affirmed the judgment.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion regarding parental rights, a parent is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Court Enters Fifteen Year Unallocated Alimony and Support Award in Dissolution of Marriage Action

Dissolution of Marriage Action

In a dissolution of marriage action pending in the Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, the Court awarded the wife unallocated alimony and support in the amount of $6,000 per month for a period of ten years, followed by $3,000 per month for a period of five years.  Married in 1993, the parties were the parents of four minor children.  The husband was employed in the insurance industry throughout the marriage, and during the two years leading up to the parties’ dissolution, owned his own insurance company.  The court found that the husband’s earning capacity increased steadily throughout the marriage to approximately $200,000 at the time of trial.  This included earned income, commissions, and other unearned income.

The wife’s work history was brief and occurred mostly before the parties’ had children.  Though she was primarily responsible for raising the children, at the time of trial, she had returned to school and was in the process of obtaining an associate’s degree.  The parties’ primary asset was the marital home, which, according to the Court, had a value of approximately $600,000.

Court Findings

Based on its findings, the Court ordered the husband to pay to the wife the sum of $6,000 as unallocated alimony and child support for a period of ten years, followed by $3,000 per month for a period of five years.  The Court limited the duration of alimony, which was otherwise non-modifiable, upon the wife’s remarriage, the death of either party, or the wife’s cohabitation.  The Court also ordered that if the marital home was sold, the husband’s alimony obligation would increase to $7,500 per month for the first ten years and $3,750 for the following five years.

Should you have any questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact managing partner Attorney Joseph C. Maya.  He can be reached by telephone in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Accepting Recommendation of Guardian Ad Litem Not Abuse of Discretion

Appellate Court of Connecticut: Divorce Action

In a divorce action case, the Appellate Court of Connecticut considered whether a trial court abused its discretion in not following the wishes of the minor children in determining what was in their best interests, and for following the recommendation of the appointed guardian ad litem.

When a court creates or modifies orders governing child custody and visitation, it is imperative that they place the best interests of the children at the forefront. General Statutes § 46b-56(c) enumerates sixteen non-exclusive factors that a court may consider. The wish of a child is one factor – but it isn’t the only one. In this case, the trial court seriously considered the children’s preferences as part of a larger picture and elected against honoring them.

As the court put it, the middle child “can’t be the one that is making the decisions here.” The Appellate Court found that the trial court properly considered the entirety of the evidence it had on hand and weighed many of the factors governing the best interests of the children. As such, the Appellate Court denied this ground for appeal.

Appointed Guardian Ad Litem

A court may appoint a guardian ad litem (guardian) if the court doing so is in the best interests of a minor child. This person is disinterested, or “unbiased by personal interest or advantage,” and as such speaks on behalf of the child’s best interest. Guardians are tasked with a multitude of duties, which include making recommendations to the court through testimony. The credibility and evidentiary effect of this testimony is weighed by the trial court, to which the appellate courts will defer. In this case, the mother admitted that the guardian was a “seasoned veteran and a competent professional [with] no ax to grind.”

The attorney for the minor children echoed a similar sentiment. When the guardian testified on behalf of the father, all attorneys involved had a fair opportunity to cross-examine her. As the Appellate Court determined, the guardian’s role was to provide a recommendation as a neutral party, to be considered with all other evidence before the court, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by following her recommendation. As such, the court denied this ground for appeal as well.

Whether advancing or defending a pendente lite order to modify custody or visitation, a parent is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Pursuing Self-Help Rather Than Court Modification? Expect a Contempt Motion Not In Your Favor

Appellate Court of Connecticut: post-dissolution action

In a post-dissolution action involving a contempt motion, the Appellate Court of Connecticut affirmed in part and reversed in part a trial court’s findings that the defendant was in contempt of a court order. The plaintiff wife and defendant husband were married in 1985 and had four children through the course of their eighteen-year marriage. In September 2003, the parties submitted a separation agreement to the court, which the court incorporated into its judgment for dissolution. In relevant part, the agreement stated that while the husband remained unemployed, he was responsible for one-half the cost of the children’s extracurricular activities. In addition, regardless of his employment status, the husband was required to pay three-quarters the cost of the children’s undergraduate education.

Modification Agreement

In February 2007, the parties entered into a modification agreement, which was approved by the court the following month. However, in December 2007, the wife filed a motion for contempt in which she alleged that the husband failed to comply with several obligations set forth in the separation agreement. The husband argued that because he was employed, the provision regarding extracurricular activities did not apply to him, and he contested the manner in which he was to pay for his children’s college expenses. The trial court ruled in the wife’s favor, and the husband appealed.

Separation Agreements

Separation agreements that are incorporated in a judgment of dissolution are treated as contracts, which must be construed to reflect the parties’ intent. A court will look to the language itself and ascertain a fair and reasonable construction pursuant to common, natural, and ordinary meaning and usage. In reviewing a finding of contempt, an appellate court must first determine whether or not the terms of a court order were sufficiently clear and unambiguous. It must then look for an abuse of discretion by the trial court in issuing or refusing to issue a judgment of contempt. Nonetheless, any order of the court must be followed until it has either been modified or successfully challenged.

The Case

In this case, the Appellate Court agreed with the husband that the contempt finding with respect to the extracurricular activities was improper. The language of this provision was sufficiently clear – the husband would cover half the cost for as long as the husband remained unemployed. Because this condition was not met, the contempt finding constituted an abuse of discretion.

However, the court agreed that the husband was in contempt for failure to pay his portion of college expenses. The husband never disputed this fact, but he insisted that the payments be made from custodial accounts, not from him directly. Self-help does not obviate a finding of contempt, and the Appellate Court did not find an abuse of discretion by the trial court.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion involving the enforcement or modification of a separation agreement, a divorced individual is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

Due to Mother’s Pattern of “Contemptuous Conduct,” Award of Sole Custody to Child’s Father Was Proper

Appellate Court of Connecticut: Post-Judgment Divorce Action

In a post-judgment divorce action involving contemptuous conduct, the Appellate Court of Connecticut considered a defendant’s numerous claims that the trial court erred in its child custody determination. The plaintiff father and defendant mother were married for fourteen years and had one child together. Pursuant to a comprehensive separation agreement, the parents shared joint legal custody, while the mother had primary physical custody of the minor child.

Five years after the court dissolved their marriage, the father moved to modify the custody order due to a change in circumstances. He alleged that the mother alienated the child from him and constantly deprived him of his parenting rights without judicial reprimand. The court issued a temporary order granting the father sole physical custody of the child pending further proceedings.

Court Decision

After three days of hearings, the court granted the father’s motion, finding that the minor child was in “a healthier environment” since the transfer of custody. The mother, on the other hand, “wrongfully engage[d] in efforts to manipulate the minor child,” a characterization imputed by numerous unbiased parties. The court noted the mother’s past inability to comply with court orders, “lengthy pattern of contemptuous conduct,” financial waste, a pattern of parental alienation, and history of false reports of abuse and neglect to government agencies, resulting in wasted investigational efforts.

The court found that the father established a change in circumstances, and it was in the child’s best interests that the father receive sole legal and physical custody. In addition, the court entered orders that severely restricted the mother’s ability to file motions in the matter due to her previous abuses of the system.

Appeal

On appeal, the mother contended that the court abused its discretion by modifying the order, but the Appellate Court quickly rejected this argument. Trial courts have broad discretion in determining what is in the best interests of a minor child, and in this case, there was substantial evidence supporting the trial court’s conclusion. As such, an abuse of discretion did not occur.

The mother also contended that the court orders that restricted her own ability to seek modification of custody and parenting access were impermissible. In its ruling, the trial found that “the defendant has filed … numerous pleadings and complaints that have resulted in unnecessary litigation.” The Appellate Court stated that the imposition of conditions with respect to a party’s ability to file motions, in circumstances such as this, are warranted and do not constitute an abuse of discretion.

Final Outcome

Finally, the mother argued that it was improper for the trial court to base its decision, in part, on a finding of parental alienation. She alleged that because the father did not present expert testimony, and the court did not make any findings with respect to the theory, the court abused its discretion. The Appellate Court readily disagreed, saying that such considerations – manipulation and coercion by a parent – are permitted under General Statutes § 46b-56 (c). Therefore, because the mother failed to establish any grounds for reversal, the Appellate Court affirmed judgment.

Whether advancing or defending a motion to modify custody or visitation, a divorced parent is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Parental Alienation: “Syndrome” or Not — A Real Consideration Regarding Custody

Parental Alienation Syndrome

In the past, custody disputes across the country have increasingly referred to the concept of parental alienation syndrome, which has been defined by one court as “a systematic programmed alienation of a child from one parent brought upon by the other parent.” Ellis v. Ellis, 952 So. 2d 982, 992; see also A.C.H. v. F.R.S., 247 S.W.3d 921, 926 n.4 (Mo. App. 2008) (parental alienation syndrome is where parent attempts to emotionally alienate child from absent parent).

Connecticut and Parental Alienation Syndrome

Like other jurisdictions, Connecticut has not affirmatively adjudicated the issue of whether parental alienation syndrome is a scientifically reliable theory. See, e.g., In re Marriage of Rosenfeld, 524 N.W.2d 212, 215 (Iowa App. 1994).  Connecticut courts have, however, expressly referred to and discussed the syndrome in numerous decisions, including Ruggiero v. Ruggiero, 76 Conn.App. 338, 339 fn.1, 819 A.2d 864 (2003), where the Appellate Court distinguished between the trial court’s factual finding of parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome, an alleged psychiatric disorder not listed or set forth in the American Psychiatric Association’s current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (“DSM-IV”), stating: “As we will discuss, the court made a factual finding that the plaintiff had engaged in parental alienation. The plaintiff’s claim concerning parental alienation dealt with the issue of the validity of a finding of parental alienation syndrome. The court did not address any potential mental health condition. This opinion utilizes the court’s factual conclusion that the plaintiff’s activity as a parent alienated the defendant, and this court makes no decision concerning the validity of such a syndrome.” See also Snyder v. Cedar, 2006 Ct.Sup. 3216, No. NNH CV01 0454296, Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven at New Haven, 2006 Conn. Super. LEXIS 520 (Pittman, J., February 16, 2006); Coleman v. Coleman, 2004 Ct.Sup. 11232-a, No. FA 02-0174562, Superior Court, Judicial District of Middlesex, Regional Family Trial Docket at Middletown, 2004 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2147 (Munro, J., August 5, 2004); In re Katherine W., 2000 Ct.Sup. 13285, Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, Child Protection Session at Middletown (Quinn, J., October 26, 2000).

Parental Alienation Claims

Even without any explicitly universal acceptance of a “syndrome” of parental alienation, courts in Connecticut routinely examine parental alienation claims in the context of whether a parent has, in fact, fostered the relationship with the other parent or whether he or she has undermined or restricted that relationship.  As a Superior Court judge once noted, “This court need not reach the question of the reliability of the claims of the theoreticians espousing the parental alienation syndrome. Whether it is legitimate or not is not a determination necessary for a proper determination of the custodial orders in this case.” Bowles v. Bowles, No. 356104, 1997 Ct.Sup. 9863, 9869-70.

Therefore, instead of focusing on the science and diagnosis (or lack thereof) connected to parental alienation, family lawyers know that courts will regularly admit evidence that goes to instances of negative behavior towards a parent in front of the children, especially where that behavior adversely impacts their perceptions of the aggrieved parent.  This behavior could include disparaging remarks about the other parent regarding finances (such as child support or alimony), discipline of the children, the pending court proceedings themselves, opinions concerning the other parent’s motivation in seeking court intervention, or a variety of other issues.

Custody Disputes

For these reasons and for many others, litigants in custody disputes are forewarned to cautiously limit from a minor child any communications that relate to the underlying custody dispute and the court proceedings.  Some (but not all) parents who try to be “helpful” or even simply “truthful” with their children in custody actions may find that A) their actions and communications may do more harm than good; and B) their statements may be seized or acted upon by counsel for the opposing parent and/or the Guardian ad Litem as patently damaging examples of parental alienation.  In the alternative, parents are best served by either diverting communications with their minor children away from the issues relating to pending custody proceedings (while instead accentuating the positives and love that both parents have and will continue to have for the child), or in the alternative, by consulting with a mental healthcare professional who would advise the proper forum and method for communicating essential information to the child at the appropriate time and in manageable doses.

In contested custody cases concerning issues of parental alienation, litigants are best served by engaging an experienced family law attorney.  Questions about this posting or confidential inquiries may be directed to Attorney Joseph C. Maya at 203-221-3100 or jmaya@mayalaw.com. Call today for a free initial consultation.

Court Upholds Termination of Parental Rights Where Mother Failed to Show any Sense of Urgency to Rehabilitate

The Case

As the following case illustrates, a court may terminate parental rights despite significant progress toward personal rehabilitation. DCF first became involved in the termination of parental rights when the mother was admitted to a rehab program for alcohol abuse.  The hospital filed a neglect report with the Department after the ambulance crew reported unsanitary conditions within the mother’s home.  DCF subsequently removed one of the children because it believed the home was physically unsafe.  Following a subsequent incident in which the mother relapsed and was admitted to a second rehab program, the Department obtained an order of temporary custody, and the child was placed in a foster home.

Trial Court

The trial court found that there were three primary areas of concern that affected the mother’s ability to parent the child properly: 1) her ability to remain sober, 2) her mental health issues, and 3) her ability to provide a safe and appropriate home for the child.  Although the trial court stated it could find no evidence to contradict the mother’s claim that she was clean and sober, it also noted that the mother lacked insight into how her living conditions affected her child.  According to the Department, this suggested she would be unable to recognize and respond to problems that might affect the child in the future.

In reviewing the trial court’s decision, the Appellate Court noted that in order to terminate parental rights, the Department must prove, among other things, that the parent has failed to achieve a degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage a belief that within a reasonable period of time, such parent could assume a responsible position in the child’s life.

Appeal

On appeal, the mother argued that she benefited from services meant to reunify her with her daughter, and that she would be able to care for her daughter once she secured appropriate housing.  The Appellate Court found that although the mother did indeed benefit from the Department’s services, the evidence at trial supported the court’s finding that she failed to rehabilitate to a point that she could parent the child within a reasonable amount of time.

For example, the Court noted that, although the mother agreed her father’s home was not an appropriate location for the child, she nevertheless continued to reside there while her daughter remained in foster care. Furthermore, she expended the only resources she had to fix-up the home despite the fact that she knew it had overwhelming problems.  The Court found that the mother simply did not recognize the urgency of the situation, and agreed that she failed to achieve a degree of rehabilitation as would encourage a belief that she could assume the role of parent within a reasonable period of time.

Should you have any questions regarding DCF matters, or family cases generally, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya.  He can be reached by telephone in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at jmaya@mayalaw.com.

Third Parties Are Not Bound to Automatic Orders Pursuant to a Dissolution Action

Superior Court of Connecticut: Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk 

Earlier this year, the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford considered a case of first impression regarding whether third parties are bound to automatic orders pursuant to a dissolution action. In this case, the plaintiff’s former wife commenced a dissolution action, and automatic orders were attached to the complaint, including one which prohibits the encumbrance of property without consent of the other party or by judicial order.

However, in direct violation of the orders, the plaintiff’s wife executed and delivered two mortgages on the marital home to the defendant. Four years later, the plaintiff entered into a written contract to sell the home. When the plaintiff demanded that the defendant release the mortgages, the defendant refused and this lawsuit commenced.

Connecticut Practice Book Rule 25-5

The Superior Court stated that mortgages clearly constituted “encumbrances” under the Connecticut Practice Book Rule 25-5 (hereinafter Rule), but the Rule and the General Statutes were silent as to whether or not the law imposed a duty on third parties to follow the requirements of the Rule. After considering the intent of the legislature, the Court stated that nothing expressly imposed a duty on third parties to take notice of or abide by the prohibitions contained in the Rule.

By extension, it was fair to infer that automatic orders were designed to control the conduct of the parties involved, not third parties. The Court noted that a mortgagee’s due process rights could be violated if his or her interests were invalidated by an automatic order pursuant to a dissolution action, and the mortgagee, without power to intervene, was nonetheless bound by the final ruling.

Additional Grounds

The Court stated an additional ground for why the Rule did not invalidate the defendant’s mortgages. On multiple occasions, the plaintiff acknowledged the mortgages and reiterated his recognition of his wife’s obligation to pay. Despite having an opportunity to respond to the defendant’s special defenses alleging waiver, the plaintiff failed to do so. The plaintiff’s prior conduct amounted to a waiver, or an intentional relinquishment of a known right.

Therefore, the Superior Court ruled that the automatic orders did not invalidate the defendant’s mortgages. Furthermore, it held that the plaintiff waived his right to assert invalidity of the mortgages, and his additional claims of tortuous interference with his contract to sell the home and slander of title were unsupported.

Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Parental Alienation Insufficient To Modify Child Support

Superior Court of Connecticut: Divorce Action

In a post-judgment divorce action, the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford denied a husband’s motion seeking modification of his child support obligation on multiple grounds. When a parent seeks to modify the amount of his child support payments, he or she must show the existence of a substantial change in circumstances that would render it unfair to hold both parties to the terms of the previous order. Whether parental alienation constitutes such a change was at issue in this case.

The Marriage

The marriage of plaintiff husband and defendant wife was dissolved in January 2003, and the husband was ordered to pay alimony and child custody. After a series of motions regarding these awards and the established parenting plan, the father sought a reduction in his payments. He argued that he experienced a substantial change in circumstances, in part due to his move to California and allegations of parental alienation inflicted by the wife.

Court Outcome

The court rejected both of these grounds, pointing out the husband had moved prior to the date of the last order, and as such, this circumstance was not new. In addition, state precedent holds that there is no linkage between one’s obligation to pay child support and the exercise of visitation rights. Therefore, any allegations of parental alienation disrupting the husband’s visitation with his children are not sufficient grounds on their own to permit modification of child support payments.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion regarding awards of alimony, assignment of property, and child support, a divorced individual is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.