April 16, 2019
for the dissolution of a marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Waterbury and tried to the court, Hon. Lloyd
Cutsumpas, judge trial referee; judgment dissolving the
marriage and granting certain other relief; thereafter, the
plaintiff filed a motion for contempt and the court issued
certain orders, and the defendant appealed to this court.
Affirmed in part; appeal dismissed in part.
W., self-represented, the appellant (defendant).
DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Norcott, Js.
self-represented defendant, Eric W., appeals from the
judgment of dissolution and the court's order related to
the postjudgment motion for contempt filed by the plaintiff,
Maria W. On appeal, the defendant has raised
numerous claims,  which we have distilled to his claims that
the court (1) abused its discretion by admitting evidence at
the dissolution trial of his arrest and (2) with respect to
the plaintiff's motion for contempt, improperly found him
to be in arrears on his child support and alimony obligations
and ordered him to make certain weekly payments to the
plaintiff to cover his current and delinquent child support
and alimony obligations. We affirm the judgment of
dissolution and dismiss the appeal with respect to the motion
for contempt for lack of a final judgment.
record reveals the following relevant facts and procedural
history. The parties were married on March 17, 2000, and are
the parents of one minor child. The plaintiff initiated the
underlying dissolution proceeding in June, 2016. The trial
lasted five days, commencing on May 11, 2017, and concluding
on June 9, 2017. At trial, the plaintiff testified as to an
April 5, 2016 incident in which the police arrested and
charged the defendant.The charges were risk of injury to a child,
assault in the third degree, resisting arrest, and
disturbance of the peace. The defendant objected to this
testimony on the ground that the charges had been dismissed.
The court overruled the defendant's objection.
26, 2017, the court dissolved the parties' marriage. In
its judgment of dissolution, the court found the plaintiffs
evidence "far more credible" than that of the
defendant. The court found that the plaintiff acted as the
primary caregiver to the child and that the defendant,
despite having been afforded supervised parenting time with
the child, had failed to visit the child in more than one
year. The court granted the parties joint legal custody of
the child and further ordered that the child's
"primary residence and physical custody will be with the
[plaintiff] . . . ." Finding that the defendant's
pendente lite child support and alimony payments were in
arrears in the amount of $1008 and $1200, respectively, the
court ordered the defendant to make weekly payments of $16
toward the child support arrearage and $10 toward the alimony
arrearage. It additionally ordered the defendant to pay the
plaintiff weekly child support in the amount of $82 and
weekly alimony in the amount of $25.
November 29, 2017, the plaintiff filed a motion for contempt,
alleging that the defendant owed her $3857 for past due child
support and alimony. Following a January 2, 2018 hearing on
the matter, the court found that the defendant owed the
plaintiff $5739 and ordered him to make payments on that
appeal, the defendant asks this court to reverse the
court's dissolution orders in their entirety and to
remand the matter for a new trial. "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 [evidence] 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." (Emphasis omitted; internal quotation
marks omitted.) Kirwan v. Kirwan, 185 Conn.App. 713,
726, 197 A.3d 1000 (2018).
defendant first contends that the court's orders
improperly were predicated on the criminal charges that were
dismissed. He argues that the admission of this testimony
adversely influenced the court's opinion of him, as
demonstrated by the court's decision to credit the
plaintiffs evidence. We review the court's evidentiary
ruling for an abuse of discretion. Senk v. Senk, 115
Conn.App. 510, 518, 973 A.2d 131 (2009). "A party
claiming error in an evidentiary ruling of the court must
carry the burden of demonstrating that the error was harmful
before a new trial may be granted. ... In a civil case, the
standard for determining whether such an improper ruling is
harmful is whether the ruling would likely affect the
result." (Citation omitted.) Id., 520.
present case, despite the defendant's objection on the
ground that the charges have since been dismissed, the court
did not specify its reason for permitting this testimony.
Even if we assume that the court erroneously admitted the
evidence, however, the defendant has not demonstrated how the
admission of this testimony harmed him. Accordingly, we
reject the defendant's claim.
the defendant challenges the court's January 2, 2018
findings and order related to the plaintiffs motion for
contempt. The court's January 2, 2018 order, finding an
arrearage and ordering payments, from which the defendant
appealed, however, left open the issue as to whether ...