April 19, 2018
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, Nastri, J.;
judgment dissolving the marriage and granting certain other
relief, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court.
Yagaloff, for the appellant (plaintiff).
T. Lobo, for the appellee (defendant).
Sheldon, Bright and Bear, Js.
plaintiff, James Riccio, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court dissolving his marriage to the defendant, Lisa
Riccio. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1)
abused its discretion in making its financial orders because,
in their entirety, they favored the defendant; (2) erred in
applying the present division method of valuation to the
distribution of the parties' defined benefit plans; and
(3) erred in its treatment of the plaintiff's pay-status
pension and the defendant's nonpay-status pension. We
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to the
plaintiff's claims. The plaintiff and the defendant were
married on October 20, 1978. The plaintiff brought the
underlying action for dissolution of marriage by complaint
dated March 8, 2016. Following a five day trial, on May 24,
2017, the court dissolved the parties' marriage on the
ground of irretrievable break-down,  and entered various
financial and property division orders. The court ordered, in
relevant part, that the defendant pay to the plaintiff $125
per week for a period of eighteen months as rehabilitative
alimony, and that the plaintiff pay to the defendant
$1 per week as alimony for a period of eighteen months
because the defendant's employment future was uncertain.
The court also ordered that ‘‘[t]he defendant
shall transfer $48, 750 to the plaintiff from her Fidelity
401 (k) plan . . . . This distribution takes into account the
disparity in the parties' defined benefit plans. . . .
The parties shall retain, free and clear of any claim by the
other, their defined benefit plans. . . . The defendant shall
retain . . . any interest she has in [her] Computershare
MetLife policy. The plaintiff shall retain the Minnesota Life
Insurance Policy, and its cash value . . .
.'' (Footnote omitted.) This appeal followed.
begin by setting forth our general standard of review in
family matters. ‘‘The standard of review in
family matters is well settled. An appellate court will not
disturb a trial court's orders in domestic relations
cases unless the court has abused its discretion or it is
found that it could not reasonably conclude as it did, based
on the facts presented. . . . It is within the province of
the trial court to find facts and draw proper inferences from
the evidence presented. . . . In determining whether a trial
court has abused its broad discretion in domestic relations
matters, we allow every reasonable presumption in favor of
the correctness of its action. . . . [T]o conclude that the
trial court abused its discretion, we must find that the
court either incorrectly applied the law or could not
reasonably conclude as it did. . . . Appellate review of a
trial court's findings of fact is governed by the clearly
erroneous standard of review. . . . A finding of fact is
clearly erroneous when there is no evidence in the record to
support it . . . or when although there is evidence to
support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is
left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been committed.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
Powell-Ferri v. Ferri, 326 Conn. 457, 464, 165 A.3d
plaintiff first claims that the court abused its discretion
because its ‘‘financial orders . . . are
inequitably favorable to the defendant [because the] orders
assign to the defendant the large majority of the marital
assets and income.'' Specifically, the plaintiff
challenges the court's orders regarding the alimony
award, the division of the parties' pensions and
retirement funds, unknown future debt, the requirement that
the parties pay their own health insurance, the
defendant's MetLife account, and attorney's fees.
dissolution proceedings, the court must fashion its financial
orders in accordance with the criteria set forth in [General
Statutes] § 46b-81 (division of marital property) and
[General Statutes] § 46b-82 (alimony).''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Rozsa v. Rozsa,
117 Conn.App. 1, 9, 977 A.2d 722 (2009); see also
Loughlin v. Loughlin, 280 Conn. 632, 640, 910 A.2d
963 (2006). ‘‘Under these statutes, the court
shall consider, inter alia: the length of the marriage, the
causes for the . . . dissolution of the marriage . . . the
age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of
income, vocational skills, employability, estate . . . and
needs of each of the parties . . . .'' (Internal
quotation marks omitted.) Loughlin v. Loughlin,
supra, 640. ‘‘While the trial court must consider
the delineated statutory criteria . . . no single criterion
is preferred over others, and the court is accorded wide
latitude in varying the weight placed upon each item under
the peculiar circumstances of each case. . . . A trial court
. . . need not give each factor equal weight . . . or recite
the statutory criteria that it considered in making its
decision or make express findings as to each statutory
factor.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
Kent v. DiPaola, 178 Conn.App. 424, 431-32, 175 A.3d
‘‘§ 46b-81 (a) permits the farthest reaches
from an equal division as is possible, allowing the court to
assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the
estate of the other. . . . On the basis of the plain language
of § 46b-81, there is no presumption in Connecticut that
marital property should be divided equally prior to applying
the statutory criteria.'' (Internal quotation marks
omitted.) Kaczynski v. Kaczynski, 124 Conn.App. 204,
213, 3 A.3d 1034 (2010). Additionally,
‘‘[i]ndividual financial orders in a dissolution
action are part of the carefully crafted mosaic that
comprises the entire asset reallocation plan. . . . Under the
mosaic doctrine, financial orders should not be viewed as a
collection of single disconnected occurrences, but rather as
a seamless collection of interdependent elements.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Barcelo v.
Barcelo, 158 Conn.App. 201, 226, 118 A.3d 657, cert.
denied, 319 Conn. 910, 123 A.3d 882 (2015).
considered carefully the plaintiff's various arguments in
support of his claim regarding the court's financial
orders, and we conclude that he has not established that the
court has misapplied the law, abused its discretion or
committed clear error. The court's distribution of the
parties' assets, although not equal inmonetary terms, is
not inequitable solely on the basis of that
disparity. See, e.g., O'Brien v.
O'Brien, 326 Conn. 81, 122, 161 A.3d 1236 (2017)
(‘‘[A] distribution ratio of 78 percent to 22
percent is not, on its face, excessive, as the plaintiff
contends. Indeed, we have upheld distributions awarding as
much as 90 percent of the marital estate to one
party.''). Our ...