Derek Fairfield v. Julie Fairfield
Memorandum of Decision
Having heard the testimony from both parties and the guardian ad item in the above captioned matter, and having reviewed the entire court file, the court will issue the following findings and rulings:
A. # 214, # 216 Defendant's Motion for Contempt
On January 24, 2011,
plaintiff reminded not to discuss any aspect of the parenting plan or orders of the court with the children;
defendant shall be responsible to plaintiff for expenses in the amount of $796.76.
1) The court's order on January 24, 2011, required plaintiff to reimburse defendant $1,083. It further ordered defendant to reimburse plaintiff $796.16. There was credible testimony that plaintiff provided defendant with a check in an approximate amount of $300, appearing to satisfy the court's order. Therefore the court finds no violation of the court order.
2) Plaintiff complied with the court order regarding medical expenses.
3) Plaintiff has not complied with the order regarding religious instruction. If plaintiff chooses not to participate in religious practice, he must provide the transportation so as not to interfere with defendant's custodial privileges. At this time the court will not find a willful violation.
4) It is clear from the testimony of plaintiff and defendant, that both have violated the court's January order regarding not involving the children in this custody disagreement. Both parties have engaged in a continuous pattern of bickering over every aspect of their children's lives. Both parties have been warned by previous judges and court orders to modify their behavior toward each other as this constant argument is not in the best interest of the children. The court has ordered both parties to engage in co-parenting classes.
B. # 215 Defendant's Motion for Contempt, # 224 Plaintiff's Motion for Contempt
The judgment, issued February 2009, contained the following order:
Neither party shall incur an expense in excess of $100 for the minor children without first securing the written consent of the other party which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld. Article V, Separation Agreement.
Subsequent orders from this court require have reiterated that order. The court credits the testimony that the defendant did not give written consent for the hockey expense, in fact quite the opposite. Therefore, the plaintiff shall bear the expense himself. Again plaintiff and defendant are reminded that the children should not be made aware of the parties' disagreement over the shared expenses.
The court will note that there have been over 200 motions filed in this divorce action; over 89 separate court motions since the judgment became final in July 2009. The parties are contentious over the smallest dollar amount; to the extent of arguing over the amounts spent on toiletries used by the children at their respective homes. Transcripts contained within the file show previous courts' frustration in attempting to determine who owes whom for what expenses. Each party has submitted “spreadsheets” that were conflicting and confusing. There exists in this case a pattern of motions that are often “duplicative, redundant and without merit.” Therefore, in an effort to conform with Strobel v. Strobel, 92 Conn.App 662 (2005) and in the best interest of the minor children involved, the court will make the following modification to the original judgment regarding future motions:
1) Any child-related expenditure that is less than $100 shall be the responsibility of the party making the said expenditure;
2) Any child related expenditure that is greater than $100, made without the written consent of the other party, shall be the responsibility of the party making said expenditure;
3) Future motions requesting payment of expenses shall require written independent documentation of the expenditure, i.e. bill, receipt, etc. This is to assist the court in determining each expense and the party's share of the expenses.
plaintiff shall be responsible to the defendant for $1,083.10 in expenses; plaintiff shall provide blanket medical authorization for billing for medical and dental expenses; plaintiff shall arrange to deliver the children for mass and religious instruction;