April 23, 2019
for the dissolution of a marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Stamford-Norwalk, where the court, Hon. Stanley
Novack, judge trial referee, rendered judgment
dissolving the marriage; thereafter, the court, Hon.
Michael E. Shay, judge trial referee, granted the motion
filed by the defendant to terminate alimony, to determine
overpayments and to set a repayment schedule, and the
plaintiff appealed to this court; subsequently, the court,
Hon. Michael E. Shay, judge trial referee, denied
the motion for articulation filed by the plaintiff;
thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for review with this
court, which granted the plaintiff's motion for review
but denied the relief requested. Affirmed.
H. Lee, for the appellant (plaintiff).
M. Shanley, for the appellee (defendant).
DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Diana, Js.
plaintiff, Maya Boreen, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court granting the postjudgment motion filed by the
defendant, Kevin A. Boreen, to terminate alimony, to
determine overpayments, and to set a repayment schedule on
the ground that, under the parties' separation agreement,
the defendant's alimony obligation terminated upon the
court's finding that the plaintiff was
‘‘living with another person.'' The
plaintiff claims that the court (1) erred in finding that she
was ‘‘living with another person''
pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-86 (b),
(2) improperly concluded that the only remedy available upon
a finding that she was ‘‘living with another
person'' was to terminate the defendant's alimony
obligation. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
following procedural history and facts, as found by the trial
court, are relevant to this appeal. The twenty-four year
marriage between the parties was dissolved on September 29,
2009. The parties executed a separation agreement, which was
approved by the court and incorporated in the dissolution
decree by reference. The separation agreement provides that
the defendant was to pay alimony to the plaintiff
‘‘until the earliest of the [defendant's]
death, the [plaintiff's] death, the [plaintiff's]
remarriage or ‘living with another person' as
defined in [Article] 2.2 [of the separation
agreement].'' Article 2.2 of the agreement provides
in relevant part: ‘‘The [defendant's]
obligation to pay alimony shall terminate on the date . . .
the [c]ourt determines [the plaintiff] commenced
‘living with another person.' . . . For purposes of
this Agreement, the [plaintiff] shall be deemed to have been
‘living with another person' in the event a court
of competent jurisdiction makes a finding that the alimony
should terminate or be reduced pursuant to the provisions of
[General Statutes] § 46b-8
December, 2009, the plaintiff began dating Robert Rodriguez.
On March 13, 2017, the defendant filed a motion to terminate
alimony, to determine overpayments, and to set a repayment
schedule, claiming that, although the plaintiff still
maintained her own home, she had been living with Rodriguez
within the meaning of § 46b-86 (b) since July, 2013,
such that her financial needs had been altered. At the
hearing on the defendant's motion, Rodriguez testified
that, although he began dating the plaintiff in 2009, he had
only owned and maintained a home in Wilton since July, 2013.
The plaintiff's home, which she purchased in August,
2011, is also located in Wilton. Rodriguez testified that the
couple spends ‘‘between three and four''
nights together each week at one of their respective homes,
but that neither of them contribute to the maintenance of the
other's residence. He further testified that the
plaintiff typically cooks for the couple twice per week and
that he pays for their meals when they eat out more than
half, and possibly as much as 75 percent of the time.
Further, the plaintiff, who works part-time as an artist,
keeps a rent-free art studio at Rodriguez's home in
Rodriguez admitted that in approximately January, 2015, he
added the plaintiff to his health insurance policy and
indicated on the enrollment form that the plaintiff was his
‘‘domestic partner.'' Before receiving
health insurance coverage as a domestic partner under
Rodriguez' policy, the plaintiff's insurance company
required her to pay annually a $6000 deductible and a 20
percent copay. Under Rodriguez' health insurance policy,
the deductible is $750 per incident. The plaintiff's
total estimated share of the health insurance premium
payments that had been made on her behalf by Rodriguez was,
at the time of trial, in excess of $26, 000. Although
Rodriguez testified that the plaintiff had agreed to
reimburse him for her portion of the health insurance
premium, that agreement was not reduced to writing and the
plaintiff had made no reimbursement payments to Rodriguez at
the time of the hearing on the defendant's motion.
court granted the defendant's motion in a memorandum of
decision dated October 31, 2017, finding that
‘‘at least since January, 2015, the parties have
been living together, and that the arrangement has altered
the financial needs of [the plaintiff] within the meaning of
General Statutes § 46b-86 (b).'' On that basis,
the court terminated the defendant's alimony obligation.
The court further determined that from January 1, 2015, until
October 31, 2017, the defendant had paid alimony to the
plaintiff in the amount of $358, 216, and ordered the
plaintiff to repay the overage in full in semiannual
installments of $30, 000 each without interest. On November
20, 2017, the plaintiff filed a motion for reargument and
reconsideration, which the court denied on November 30, 2017.
This appeal followed. Additional facts and circumstances will
be set forth as necessary.
plaintiff first claims that the court erred in finding that
she had been ‘‘living with another
person'' within the meaning of § 46b-86 (b).
Specifically, the plaintiff argues that the court erred in
finding that she was living with Rodriguez because (1) they
maintain separate residences and ‘‘are together
less than all the time'' and (2) the court improperly
considered that Rodriguez had provided for her health
insurance coverage under his own policy in making its
determination about her living arrangements. We are not
court made the following additional findings relevant to this
claim: ‘‘In this case, the testimony and evidence
clearly support a finding that [Rodriguez] and [the
plaintiff] have entered into a long-time, committed, and
monogamous relationship that meets their emotional needs, and
comes with significant financial benefits for the latter. The
couple resides under the same roof for approximately half the
week, take many of their meals together, regularly
communicate by cell phone, and frequently travel together.
Both described the relationship as exclusive, and [Rodriguez]
called [the plaintiff] his ‘best friend.' More
importantly, he also described her as his ‘domestic
partner,' and, since January, 2015, he has made provision
for her health insurance coverage under his own policy at no
cost to her. For her part, on her Facebook page she has
referred to the workshop at [Rodriguez'] home in Wilton
as ‘her studio' and posted photos of it and her
artwork. Accordingly, the court finds that at least since
January, 2015, the parties have been living together, and
that the arrangement has altered the financial needs of [the
plaintiff] within the meaning of General Statutes §
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. . . . 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. . . . Appellate review of a trial court's
findings of fact is governed by the clearly erroneous
standard of review. The trial court's findings are
binding upon this court unless they are clearly erroneous in
light of the evidence and the pleadings in the record as a
whole. . . . 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. . . .
Therefore, to conclude that the trial court ...