January 2, 2018
for the dissolution of a marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Stamford-Norwalk and tried to the court, Tin-dill,
J.; judgment dissolving the marriage and granting
certain other relief, from which the defendant appealed to
this court; thereafter, the court, Tindill,
J., denied the defendant's motion for
articulation; subsequently, this court granted the
defendant's motion for review but denied the relief
requested; thereafter, the court, Tindill,
J., issued an articulation of its decision.
Reversed in part; further proceedings.
Gaetano Ferro, with whom, on the brief, was Olivia M.
Hebenstreit, for the appellant (defendant).
Pyetranker, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Sheldon, Elgo and Stevens, Js.
defendant, Kenneth Keusch, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Lisa
Keusch, and entering related financial orders. On appeal, the
defendant claims that the trial court (1) erroneously
computed his presumptive minimum child support obligation and
(2) abused its discretion by ordering the defendant to pay
nonmodifiable unallocated alimony and support.We agree with the
defendant and, accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment
of the trial court.
following facts, as found by the trial court, and procedural
history are relevant to our consideration of the issues
raised on appeal. The plaintiff and the defendant were
married on July 19, 1997. They are the parents of three minor
children. By complaint dated February 26, 2014, the plaintiff
sought, inter alia, dissolution of the parties' marriage,
custody of the minor children, and temporary and permanent
alimony and child support. On June 21, 2016, following a
trial over several days on financial and property issues, the
court dissolved the parties' marriage. In its memorandum
of decision, the court ordered, inter alia, that the
defendant pay unallocated alimony and support to the
plaintiff in the amount of $12, 500 per month
‘‘until the death of either party, the
[p]laintiff's remarriage, or November 3, 2025, whichever
shall occur first.'' The duration and the amount to be
paid were nonmodifiable by either party. The court indicated
that it was deviating from the child support guidelines'
(guidelines) presumptive support amount of $752 per week
‘‘based on the extraordinary disparity in income
and the provision of alimony.'' The defendant then
filed the present appeal.
addressing the merits of the defendant's claims, we first
set forth the applicable standard of review in domestic
relations matters. ‘‘[T]his court will not
disturb trial court orders unless the trial court has abused
its legal discretion or its findings have no reasonable basis
in the facts. . . . As has often been explained, the
foundation for this standard is that the trial court is in a
clearly advantageous position to assess the personal factors
significant to a domestic relations case. . . . 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. . . . Notwithstanding the great deference accorded
the trial court in dissolution proceedings, a trial
court's ruling . . . may be reversed if, in the exercise
of its discretion, the trial court applies the wrong standard
of law.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
LeSueur v. LeSueur, 172 Conn.App. 767, 774,
162 A.3d 32 (2017).
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. Consistent with that approach,
our courts have utilized the mosaic doctrine as a remedial
device that allows reviewing courts to remand cases for
reconsideration of all financial orders even though the
review process might reveal a flaw only in the alimony,
property distribution or child support awards.''
(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).
by these principles, we will address the defendant's
claims on appeal.
first consider the defendant's claim that the court
erroneously computed his minimum child support obligation.
Specifically, the defendant argues that the court erred in
calculating his presumptive child support obligation on the
basis of his earning capacity rather than his actual
earnings. He contends that the court did not calculate the
amount of child support that would have been required based