Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk, Stamford
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
Michael E. Shay, J.
The plaintiff mother (" mother") whose birth name was Anastasia Andronikidou, and the defendant father (" father") were married in Norwalk, Connecticut, on October 22, 1999. They are the parents of two minor children, to wit: Christos age 15; and Michail age 12. At present, both children reside with the father in a rental unit at 50 Winfield Street, Norwalk. The mother resides in a rental at 8 Benedict Court, Norwalk.
The father is 40 years old and in good health. The father is an upholsterer, and except for a brief period when the parties moved back to Germany, he has been steadily employed in his father's business. On his Financial Affidavit, he reports an annual income of $32, 000.00 and a net income of $617.00 per week. He has no insurance or other benefits through his employment.
The mother is 36 years old and told the court that she was in good health. She received a high school diploma and took some college courses in her native Germany and received a Certificate as a Dental Assistant, after three years of study. More recently, she took further courses at Norwalk Community College and earned her Certificate as a Dental Assistant in 2012. She worked part-time as a Dental Assistant in Darien for more than two years where she earned $17.00 per hour. Since January of this year, she has worked at Darien Dental Associates full-time four days a week, where she is paid $23.00 an hour. On her Financial Affidavit, she reports an annual income of $30, 500.00 and a net income of $498.80 per week. She also has no benefits through her employer.
The parties have accumulated no assets of any substance, including real estate or retirement plans. They each have accumulated some debt. Neither parent has health insurance, and the children are insured through Husky.
The principal bone of contention is the issue of parenting. At the time the parties separated, both children resided with the mother. However, after the first Protective Order entered, both children eventually came to reside with the father, first the younger one, and then the older. Currently, the boys see their mother on a sporadic basis, and despite the father's testimony to the contrary, the father does nothing to encourage them to do so. In fact, it is apparent that the father, who leaves it up to them, has placed the children in the middle of the dispute, as a test of loyalty to him. The situation has negatively affected both boys, particularly the younger one, a fact confirmed by the testimony of Carine Lauterbach, the School Psychologist. The older boy's grades have suffered, and the younger has demonstrated signs of distress. The court ordered a full evaluation study, which was prepared by Matthew Haine of the Family Relations Office. The Report (#138.00) was introduced into evidence (Exhibit #22), and Mr. Haine appeared to offer testimony. The court found his testimony both helpful and credible.
As to the breakdown of the marriage, each party has pointed the finger at the other. For her part, the mother alleges that the father is angry and controlling, and that he has a problem with gambling. Although she points to the fact that he failed to pay some bills on time, there was no credible evidence that gambling was the cause. For his part, the father alleges that the wife has had an ongoing affair. Other than her testimony that she has shared an occasional coffee in a restaurant with a male friend, there is no credible evidence to support the father's contention. The parties married young, and the mother testified that after more than 10 years the marriage was in trouble. She told the court that they would argue every day. As a result, the parties jointly agreed that they could move to Germany to be near the mother's parents in hopes of improving their lot. They did so from June 2010 to August 2011. Although the mother obtained employment, the father, who could not speak German, was unable to do so. He returned to the United States, and the family soon followed. It was all downhill from there. The mother said that relations got " very cold, " and that the marriage broke down about two years ago. Based upon allegations of verbal and physical abuse, in June 2014 she obtained a Criminal Protective Order (Exhibit #1). She has since obtained two additional orders due to the father's failure to comply with the first order.
The trial took place over the course of four days, including final argument. At the time of trial, the wife corrected the date of the marriage and the spelling of the younger child's first name, and the court amended the Complaint accordingly. Due to an oversight, the Family Services Evaluation Report was not introduced as an exhibit at trial. The parties stipulated in writing on September 10 that it could be entered as a full exhibit, and the court has marked it as " Plaintiff's Exhibit #22, Full." Several motions were pending at the time of trial that are now moot, having either been subsumed in the judgment or addressed therein.
The Court, having heard the testimony of both parties, and having considered the evidence presented at hearing, as well as, inter alia, the factors enumerated in General Statutes § 46b-56, 46b-56a, 46b-56c, 46b-81, 46b-82, 46b-84, and 46b-215a, including the Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines Regulations, hereby makes the following findings:
1. That it has jurisdiction.
2. That the allegations of the complaint are proven and true.
3. That the marriage of the parties has broken down irretrievably, and that ample evidence exists that both parties have contributed in some fashion to said breakdown.
4. That there are two minor children born to the wife, issue of the marriage, to wit: Christos, age 15; and Michail, age 11.
5. That during the marriage, neither party has received any aid or assistance from the State of Connecticut or any town or political subdivision thereof.
6. That " the weight to be given the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses are within the sole province of the trial court." Stearns v. Stearns, 4 Conn.App. 323, 327, 494 A.2d 595 (1985).
7. That it is more likely than not that the parents would have provided support to each of the children for higher education or private occupational school if the family were intact, in that in their proposed orders, each parent has requested that the court to retain jurisdiction to ...