December 4, 2017
for the dissolution of a marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Hartford and tried to the court, Suarez, J.;
judgment dissolving the marriage and granting certain other
relief; thereafter, the court denied the defendant's
motion for reconsideration and reargument, and the defendant
appealed to this court. Reversed in part; further
Brandon B. Fontaine, with whom, on the brief, was C. Michael
Budlong, for the appellant (defendant).
E. Mortimer, with whom, on the brief, was Michael D. Day, for
the appellee (plaintiff).
Sheldon, Bright and Beach, Js.
defendant, Catherine Dinunzio, appeals from the judgment of
the trial court dissolving her marriage to the plaintiff,
Joseph Dinunzio, on the ground that the court erred in
treating the plaintiff's pension, from which he began to
receive payments shortly after he commenced this action, only
as a source of income and not as property subject to
equitable distribution. We agree with the defendant and,
accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court and
remand this case for a new trial.
trial court set forth the following findings of fact in its
January 25, 2016 memorandum of decision dissolving the
parties' marriage. ‘‘The parties were married
on May 17, 2003, in Orlando, Florida. . . . There is one
minor child born to the parties since the date of the
marriage . . . . The marriage between the parties has broken
down irretrievably and there is no reasonable prospect of
plaintiff is sixty-one years old and in good health. He
graduated from the [United States] Naval Academy, holds an
aerospace engineering degree and has training in nuclear
power. He served in the [United States] Navy on and off for
twenty-eight years. He worked in the private sector for
Northrop Grumman as a military consultant before being
recalled to active duty. He retired as a Commander from the
United States Navy [Navy] at age forty-nine. His last
military assignment was in the country of Bahrain.
the plaintiff retired from the Navy, one month after the
parties married, he started working for himself as a day
trader. In 2003, his day trading account was valued at $147,
375. Since then, he has consistently lost money trading. The
parties' 2008 income tax return shows a business loss of
$7748; the 2009 income tax return shows a business loss of
$9136; the 2011 income tax return shows a business loss of
$14, 274; and the 2013 income tax return shows a business
loss of $11, 535.
currently has $1000 left in his trading account. The
plaintiff has not made any efforts to seek gainful employment
since his retirement. In spite of the plaintiff's
significant losses, his plans are to continue day trading as
long as he has any money left in his trading account.
July, 2014, the plaintiff elected to receive his military
pension without a right of survivorship. At that time, he
received $20, 000 in a lump sum. He currently receives $650
gross weekly from his pension with a net of $475. The
plaintiff lists on his financial affidavit $681 in weekly
expenses. That amount includes $70 per week on a first
mortgage, $35 per week on a second mortgage, and $95 in
property taxes. The plaintiff's assets include a Navy
Federal Credit Union account with a current balance of $1000;
a U.S.A. account with a current balance of $15; a TD Bank
account with a current balance of $19; and savings bonds
valued at $1130. He also has an [individual retirement
account (IRA)] with a current balance of $600.
plaintiff's financial affidavit lists a total of $57, 478
in liabilities. He has a USAA Visa with a balance of $14,
920; a Navy Federal Credit Union debt in the amount of $25,
000; a Lowes credit card with a balance of $1300; a Home
Depot credit card with a balance of $400; a . . . debt in the
amount of $9200 [that was owed to the mediator that the
parties used ...