A Stamford Divorce Contempt was recently upheld by the Connecticut Appellate Court.
Here are the relevant facts:
The parties, who were formerly married, entered into a pendent lite stipulation in October 2014 which provided that certain funds being held in escrow would be deposited in a joint bank account requiring both parties signatures for withdrawals. Approximately one year later, the former wife filed a Motion for Contempt, alleging that her former husband had unilaterally withdrawn the balance of the account and placed it in a separate, personal account. The trial court, after an evidentiary hearing, granted the Motion for Contempt. Several weeks later, the parties jointly moved to open and vacate the judgment of contempt. The trial court denied the joint motion. The former husband appealed.
His primary argument on appeal was that he should not have been held in contempt because his acts were not “willful” since he was relying on counsel. Without a finding of willfulness, a trial court cannot find contempt and, it follows, cannot impose contempt penalties. However, the trial court disagreed, holding that, while he testified that he consulted with counsel, the record showed no testimony or evidence that he relied on counsel.
He stated in support of his argument to the Appellate Court that he ‘‘testified about this repeatedly’’during the contempt proceeding and that ‘‘his former attorney advised him’’ to remove the funds from the joint account to prevent dissipation of the asset.
The Appellate Court disagreed finding that the former husband failed to testify or present any other evidence, that he relied on counsel’s advice. At most, he testified that he had consulted with his attorney about the appropriate course of action under the circumstances. The Appellate Court thus held the record did not support his argument that he relied on counsel or that his counsel advised him to take certain actions.
Stamford Divorce Contempt Attorney
I represent clients in Connecticut Divorce proceedings though out Fairfield County including Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Bridgeport, Westport, Weston, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.