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Mensah v. Mensah

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 26, 2016

ISABELLA MENSAH
v.
CHARLES MENSAH

          Argued March 2, 2016.

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Ficeto, J. [motion for continuance; orders].

          Isabella Mensah, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

          Thomas S. Rome, for the appellee (defendant).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Beach and Schaller, Js.

          OPINION

          BEACH, J.

         In this postjudgment marital dissolution matter, the plaintiff, Isabella Mensah, appeals from the judgment of the trial court. She claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) denying her motion for a continuance, and (2) making improper financial orders. We affirm the judgment of the court.

         On October 27, 2014, the court issued its memorandum of decision, in which it recounted the relevant procedural history of the case and made the following factual findings. ‘‘This matter comes before the court by way of a remand from the Appellate Court. [See Mensah v. Mensah, 145 Conn.App. 644, 75 A.3d 92 (2013) (Mensah I).] The dissolution was tried before the court on December 12, 15, and16, 2011. [See Mensah v. Mensah, judicial district of Hartford, Docket No. FA-10-4051277-S (February 23, 2012).] A decision dissolving the marriage and entering the financial orders was issued on February 23, 2012. The decision was appealed and judgment was reversed as to the financial orders only.

         ‘‘The matter was scheduled for five days of trial commencing September 15, 2014. The trial did not commence until September 17. Counsel for the plaintiff [Attorney Josephine Smalls Miller (Miller)] and the plaintiff did not appear. The reasons for the plaintiff’s failure to appear and the court’s ensuing actions are articulated in the court file.

         ‘‘The uncontroverted evidence is as follows. The parties were married for over twenty years. The parties’ three children have reached the age of majority; two children are under the age of twenty-three. The defendant is an independent contractor for a trucking company. The plaintiff is a long-term employee of the United States Postal Service.

         ‘‘The plaintiff’s pension with the U.S. Postal Service had an accrued benefit of $1656 per month payable at age sixty as of December 31, 2011. The January 1, 2012 value of the accrued benefit was $229, 744. The marital portion of the pension was calculated at $223, 269. The plaintiff is also holder of a Thrift Savings Plan.

         ‘‘The parties are owners of the marital home located at 101 Rockville Road, Broad Brook . . . . The plaintiff has had exclusive possession of the home since April, 2011. . . . The plaintiff has not made mortgage payments on the home since she took possession. . . . The home is now ‘under water.’ [The defendant] testified that he and the plaintiff paid $120, 000 toward the purchase price of the home. . . . The court notes . . . that based on the evidence produced by the defendant, the equity in the home at the time of dissolution was approximately $86, 000.’’

         After making its findings, the court issued the following orders relevant to this appeal: (1) no party was awarded alimony; (2) the marital home was awarded to the plaintiff; she was ordered to hold the defendant harmless on the mortgage, arrearages, interest, penalties, and associated expenses; and she was ordered to pay the defendant $43, 000, representing one half of the equity in the home; and ...


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