January 17, 2019
from the Superior Court, Judicial District of New Britain,
Barry C. Pinkus, J., Susan A. Connors, J..
E. Mortimer, for the appellant (defendant).
Katarzyna Maluszewski, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Prescott and Elgo, Js.
Conn.App. 387] The defendant, Cezary Zaniewski, appeals from
the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to
the plaintiff, Malgorzata Zaniewski. The defendant claims on
appeal that the court improperly (1) failed to use the
parties net incomes in calculating its orders of child
support and alimony, (2) ordered the defendant to pay alimony
in an amount that exceeds his ability to pay, and (3) abused
its discretion by crafting inequitable property distribution
and alimony orders that excessively and unjustifiably
favored the plaintiff."
trial courts memorandum of decision fails to set forth the
factual basis for its financial orders. The trial judge who
authored the decision retired shortly after issuing its
decision, rendering fruitless the defendants proper and
timely efforts to remedy the decisions lack of findings in
order to secure appellate review of his claims. In many
cases, an inadequate record would fore-close appellate review
of an appellants claim. Nevertheless, the inadequacy of the
record in the present case arises not from any fault
attributable to the defendant, [190 Conn.App. 388] but from
the trial courts issuance of a memorandum of decision that
contained virtually no factual findings that would permit us
to review appropriately the defendants appellate claims.
Although we are cognizant that the trial court is entitled to
great deference in crafting financial orders in marital
dissolution actions, we nevertheless conclude under the
unique circumstances presented here that equity requires a
new trial. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial
court with respect to the financial orders and order a new
matter was tried before the court over the course of three
days, ending on November 22, 2016. On November 25, 2016, the
court issued a four page memorandum of decision dissolving
the parties marriage on the basis of irretrievable
trial courts decision contains only the following
uncontested facts. The parties were married in New York in
2005. They have two minor daughters who were issue of the
marriage. In January, 2016, the plaintiff, who
had resided in Connecticut for at least one year, commenced
the underlying action for dissolution of marriage.
memorandum is devoid of any relevant factual findings, and
the courts legal analysis is limited to the following
statement: "The court listened to and observed
witnesses, and reviewed the exhibits. In addition, the court
carefully considered the criteria set forth in the
Connecticut General Statutes in reaching the decisions
reflected in the orders below." The court did not
discuss the respective financial circumstances of the
parties, including any findings regarding their income or
earning potential. The court made no findings with respect to
the value of any marital assets, and provided no analysis or
rationale for its division of the marital property or its
other financial orders. The court [190 Conn.App. 389] did not
indicate whether either party was at fault for the breakdown
of the marriage or shared fault. The court made no explicit
credibility determinations ...