Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New London, Norwich
(with first initial, no space for Sullivan, Dorsey, and
Walsh): Connors, Susan A., J.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
dissolution of marriage action was commenced by the
plaintiff, Sophia Karabelas, against the defendant,
Konstantinos Karabelas, by summons and complaint dated
November 17, 2014, bearing a return date of December 9, 2014.
The case was tried before the court over the course of three
days on March 15, 2016, March 23, 2016 and May 17, 2016. The
plaintiff was represented by Attorney Jonathan Lane of
Mariani Reck Lane, LLC and the defendant was represented at
the time of trial by Attorney Robert Tukey of Suisman,
Shapiro, Wool, Brennan Gray & Greenberg, P.C. The parties
agreed to a parenting plan, which became an order of the
court on March 11, 2016, leaving this court to determine the
financial issues incident to their dissolution of marriage.
before the court are the plaintiff's pendente lite Motion
for Contempt and Attorneys Fees, Nos. 154 and 154.25, dated
October 22, 2015. In her Motion, the plaintiff contends that
the defendant has willfully failed to pay his child support
as ordered by the court.
court heard testimony from both parties. Several exhibits
were introduced into evidence. Upon careful consideration of
the evidence presented, the pertinent statutory law, in
particular General Statutes § § 46b-81 (assignment
of the marital estate), 46b-82 (alimony), 46b-84 (child
support) and the relevant case law and having observed the
demeanor and assessed the credibility of the witnesses, the
court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of
law. All findings are made by a fair preponderance of the
evidence except as otherwise stated herein.
plaintiff and the defendant, whose birth name was Sophia
Anastasiou, were married on August 9, 2002 in Kodevazena,
Greece. Both parties continuously resided in the state of
Connecticut for at least one year before this action was
commenced. The parties have two minor children, issue of the
marriage, to wit: Alkiviades Karabelas born March 18, 2003;
and Dimitrios Karabelas, born April 5, 2010. The plaintiff is
not currently pregnant. Neither the parties nor their
children have been the recipients of state or municipal
assistance during the marriage. The court finds that the
allegations of the complaint are proven and true. The
parties' marriage has broken down irretrievably and there
is no hope of reconciliation. All statutory stays have
expired. The court has jurisdiction over this matter.
Background and Findings
plaintiff is 34 years old, in generally good health,
completed two years of college at the Fashion Institute of
Technology, but never completed her coursework or obtained a
degree as she got pregnant with the parties' first child
and motherhood became her primary position. She has since
worked as a waitress in a restaurant owned by her father and
uncle. She works approximately 12 hours per week earning $10
per hour plus tips. She earns approximately $100 per week in
defendant is 48 years old and in good health. His first
language is Greek and he has difficulty reading or writing in
English. He too has always worked in the restaurant business
since coming to America. Up until shortly after this action
was commenced, the defendant worked in the plaintiff's
family's restaurant as a cook. He now works at the Lyme
Tavern. By all reports he is and always has been an extremely
hard worker. He earns $11 per hour and averages close to 40
hours per week.
parties met while the plaintiff was vacationing with her
family in Greece. At the time the plaintiff was enrolled in
college in New York and the defendant was working on his
family's farm. Shortly after marrying the defendant
relocated to Connecticut. Throughout the vast majority of the
marriage the parties resided with the plaintiff's parents
and worked in her family restaurant.
case was tried over two issues: 1) the division of the
parties' joint bank account and 2) the child support
award. The parties had approximately $105, 325.42 in a joint
account at Citizens Bank at the commencement of this action.
Shortly thereafter the defendant withdrew $20, 018. Fearful
that the defendant would further deplete funds, the plaintiff
transferred the money into an account in her sole name.
Thereafter the defendant received $7, 500 from the account
towards his attorneys fees and an additional $3, 000 with
which to secure an apartment. The balance in the account at
the conclusion of the trial was only $34, 000. Very little
evidence was introduced to establish how the plaintiff
utilized the funds. The evidence did establish that $8,
236.07 of said funds were plaintiff's premarital monies.
defendant seeks 65% of the total of the $105, 325.42 or $68,
461.52 plus 100% of the parties' 2015 income tax refunds
in the amount of $10, 575. The plaintiff sought an order
awarding the defendant only $10, 000 of the remaining funds.
the plaintiff seeks an order of child support and presented
the court with five different calculations based upon the
plaintiff's claimed actual earnings and her earning
capacity as claimed by the defendant. Despite the wide range
in the income figures for the plaintiff ranging from $214 to
$500 per week, the presumptive support amount changes less
than $5 per week from $143 to $138. The defendant seeks a
deviation from the guidelines and asks for an order of no
child support contending he does not have the resources to
pay any child support. The defendant submitted guidelines
with a presumptive weekly support amount from the defendant
to the plaintiff in the amount of $124 based upon a gross
weekly income of $715 for the plaintiff. No evidence was
introduced to support such an earning capacity.
parties owned one vehicle; a 2008 Audi A4, at the outset of
this action. It is the vehicle the defendant primarily drove.
It is titled solely in his name and the monthly car payment
is $318. The car is inoperable at the present time and will
cost over $6, 000 to repair. During the course of these
proceedings the plaintiff used $5, 000 from the joint account
to purchase a vehicle that is held in her mother's name.
The defendant also purchased a 2012 Hyundai Sonata during the
pendency of this action when the Audi became inoperable and
too costly to repair. His first payment is due this month.
Contending that he didn't have sufficient funds to make
either his upcoming car or rent payment, the defendant made
an oral request at the conclusion of the trial for the
immediate disbursement of funds to him from the joint account
monies. This court granted the request and ordered the
plaintiff to disburse to the defendant the sum of $5, 000
increasing the amount the defendant received during the
proceedings to $35, 518. Additionally $1, 000 was paid from
the joint account to the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) on the
time was spent at trial on the issue of who paid $120 for
footwear for one of the parties' sons contending that it
went to the credibility of the parties. Regardless of who the
court finds more credible, one fact remains-the parties
drastically depleted their life's saving as a result of
their inability to work with one another and reach an
agreement as to how they should resolve the two issues before
plaintiff attributes the breakdown of the marriage to the
defendant's abuse and lack of affection towards her. The
plaintiff admitted to having feelings for a co-worker in the
summer of 2014. She broke down when testifying that the
defendant never gave her an engagement ring, never wanted to
do anything with her, never held her hand, never told her
that he loved her and never took her out.
defendant believes the marriage broke down as a result of the
plaintiff's family's interference in their marriage
and the plaintiff's infidelity.
court finds that both parties were at fault for the breakdown
of the marriage. There is a significant age difference
between the parties and they had different philosophies on
what a marriage should be. The defendant felt he was
satisfying his obligations by working hard and providing ...