ELIZABETH G. DIGIUSEPPE
VINCENT J. DIGIUSEPPE
March 22, 2017
H. Levy, for the appellant (defendant).
Campbell D. Barrett, with whom were Johanna S. Katz and, on
the brief, Jon T. Kukucka, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Lavine, Sheldon and Keller, Js.
defendant, whose marriage to the plaintiff previously had
been dissolved, appealed to this court from the judgment of
the trial court denying the plaintiff's motion for
contempt and ordering the defendant to pay what he owed for
the college expenses of his two minor children. As part of
their separation agreement, the parties had agreed that
should certain education accounts for each child become
insufficient, the defendant would be solely responsible for
the additional college education expenses. When the defendant
failed to pay for the children's college expenses, the
plaintiff filed the motion for contempt.
court declined to review the defendant's claim that the
trial court erred in not finding a latent ambiguity in the
college expenses provision of the parties' agreement when
examining it in conjunction with another document that was
signed by the parties regarding education support orders
under statute (§ 46b-56c), the defendant having failed
to distinctly raise the claim at trial; a careful review of
the record demonstrated that the defendant did not assert
before the trial court any claim concerning a latent
ambiguity in the agreement created by the other document that
was executed by the parties, but rather that he based his
objection to the plaintiff's motion for contempt on two
entirely different arguments, and this court was under no
obligation to consider a claim that was not distinctly raised
at the trial level.
defendant's claim that the trial court erred in finding
that he was responsible for all of his children's college
expenses was not reviewable; although the defendant claimed
on appeal that the parties' agreement was unenforceable
because it contained no reasonable limitations on his
liability for the college expenses, he did not inquire of the
trial court as to the exact limits of the college expenses
for which he was liable, nor did he argue that the provision
in the agreement for the payment of college expenses was so
uncertain and indefinite as to be unenforceable, and,
therefore, he failed to preserve the claim by distinctly
raising it before the trial court.
for the dissolution of a marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Litchfield, where the court, Ginocchio, J., rendered
judgment dissolving the marriage and granting certain relief
in accordance with the parties' separation agreement;
thereafter, the court, Hon. Elizabeth A. Gallagher,
judge trial referee, denied the plaintiff's motion for
contempt and issued certain orders, and the defendant
appealed to this court. Affirmed.
defendant, Vincent J. DiGiuseppe, appeals from the judgment
of the trial court rendered when it denied a postdissolution
motion for contempt filed by the plaintiff, Elizabeth G.
DiGiuseppe, and ordered him to pay what he owed for his
children's college expenses. The issue on appeal concerns
the extent of the defendant's obligation to pay for the
college expenses of the parties' two children beyond what
is covered by Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
accounts that the parties had established for each of them.
The defendant claims that the court erred in (1) not finding
a latent ambiguity in the provision of the parties'
separation agreement (agreement) regarding college expenses
when examining it in conjunction with another document signed
by the parties entitled ‘‘Education Support
Orders [General Statutes § 46b-56c]'' (form),
which would render the agreement unenforceable, and (2) its
determination that the defendant is responsible for 100
percent of college expenses of the two children without
limitation. We conclude that the defendant failed to preserve
either of his claims before the trial court, and, therefore,
we decline to review them.
following facts, as found by the court in its written
memorandum of decision, and procedural history are relevant
to this appeal: ‘‘The parties were divorced on
June 25, 2013. Their [agreement] contained a provision for
the payment of the educational expenses of their two
children, who are currently [nineteen] and [eighteen] years
old. [The plaintiff] has moved for contempt based on [the
defendant's] failure to pay the children's college
expenses. . . .
parties do not communicate. When [the plaintiff] learned that
[the defendant] was refusing to pay the children's
college expenses, [the plaintiff] attempted to contact [the
defendant], but he refused to communicate with her.
the time of the hearing on the motion for contempt, the
parties' son was entering his second year at Bentley
College, and their daughter was hoping to begin her freshman
year at Syracuse University. The provisions for the
postmajority educational expenses are set forth in paragraph
8 of the parties' [separation] agreement.
8.1 of the parties' separation agreement provides:
‘The parties established CHET accounts for the benefit
of each of their children. These CHET accounts shall be used
for the college education of both children. Should the CHET
accounts be insufficient to educate both of the parties'
children, the [defendant] shall be solely responsible for the
additional college education expenses for the benefit of the
8.2 provides: ‘In the event there is a balance in the
CHET accounts after the children have completed their college
educations, the parties may divide any remaining balance
equally. However, in the event the [defendant] contributes
any additional funds to these accounts after the date of
dissolution, the [defendant] shall be entitled to a refund of