Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New London, Norwich
Aimee L. Jeanette-Blethen
Jeffrey M. Jeanette-Blethen
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR MODIFICATION (#138) ORDER OF THE COURT
John L. Carbonneau, J.
Defendant father seeks primary residence of his minor children with plaintiff mother in his modification motion filed September 19, 2014. He asserted substantial changes in the children's and parties' circumstances since the date of the last court order on November 18, 2010.
The court allowed intervention by the maternal grandmother (#151) after a lengthy hearing over several days. The court took this evidence into account. The court heard evidence about the modification from the parties and various witnesses over several more days.
The court makes all its findings by a preponderance of the evidence, having carefully assessed the credibility, attitude and demeanor of the various witnesses and considered the admitted exhibits, assigning all due weight. The court took into account the arguments and proposed orders of trial counsel and the self-represented party.
The court finds father's and intervening grandmother's testimony credible. The court particularly credits the calm but forceful testimony and opinions of the GAL and the informed, thoughtful and entirely persuasive testimony of Christine Willetts. The court is purposely not further articulating its factual findings for this postjudgment motion in order to protect the parties' privacy and especially to shield the children from sensitive details in the evidence about them and their families that are beyond their age, experience and emotional readiness to hear.
The court considered all applicable law, particularly C.G.S. § § 46b-56 about child custody, 46b-62 about the award of attorneys fees, 46b-84 and Connecticut's Child Support Guidelines about child support and 46b-86 about modification. The court took judicial notice of the entire court file. The court reviewed the parties' sworn Financial Affidavits very carefully and unsealed the parties' prior Financial Affidavits for its consideration. P.B. Section 25-59A(h).
On the basis of the credible evidence and testimony, father's motion is granted. These are the court's orders:
1. The parties shall share joint legal custody of their minor children; primary residence with defendant father in Groton, Connecticut beginning at least three days prior to the commencement of that school system's upcoming school year.
2. Mother shall have such access with the minor children as she and father may reasonably agree to include at a minimum the first, second and fourth weekend of each month from Friday after school (9 a.m. if there is no school) until Sunday at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays from after school (noon if there is no school) to 7 p.m. in the Mystic-Groton-New London area. This access shall include the children's dinner.
3. The parties shall share holidays, school vacations, summer vacations and special days like the children's birthdays equally as they may reasonably agree. If they cannot agree, then such days and events shall be alternated with mother's choices prevailing in even-numbered years; father's in odd. For example, if mother has the children for Thanksgiving, then father shall have them on Christmas and so on.
4. Each parent shall have two non-consecutive weeks of access with the children during their summer vacation. Each parent shall notify the other of their choices by May 1 each year. In the event of a conflict, Mother's choices shall prevail in even-numbered years; Father's in odd.
5. Father shall have final decision-making authority on all matters pertaining to the children's access with the maternal grandmother and maternal step-grandfather. Such authority is intended to be broad and all-inclusive and shall include but not be limited to time, location and duration of access, overnights, holidays, vacations, attendance at school or extracurricular activities, et cetera. However, such authority shall not be invoked or used to lessen the time of parental responsibility specifically awarded to mother by this decision.
6. Mother shall be solely responsible for the children's transportation on Wednesdays. She shall be responsible for the children's transportation on weekends, holidays and special days when her access begins. Father shall be responsible for the children's transportation on weekends, holidays and special days when his parental responsibility resumes. ...