JORGE ABAD v. JANETH OCHOA.

2003 Ct. Sup. 8689, 35 CLR 48
No. FA02 0192124SConnecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford
July 1, 2003

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.]

DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
SHAY, JUDGE.

This matter comes before the court by way of a Writ, Summons, and Complaint dated October 4, 2002, returnable on October 29, 2002, seeking a decree dissolving the marriage and joint legal custody. The parties were married on September 3, 1978, in Quingeo Parish, County of Cuenca, Province of Azuay, Ecuador. They have one minor child issue of the marriage, to wit: Lilly Stephanie Abad, born September 19, 1989, who currently resides with the plaintiff husband (“husband”). Two other children have already reached majority. The defendant wife (“wife”) currently resides with their son Paul. They were divorced on June 8, 1994, by a court in Ecuador in a procedure arranged, with their consent, through the Ecuadorian Consulate wherein neither party appeared in person. This judgment is the subject of the present action.

The Complaint was duly served upon the wife by abode service within the State of Connecticut. The wife has not filed an appearance. The husband filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (#103) dated February 7, 2003, along with an accompanying Memorandum of Law (#104), seeking recognition of the earlier decree dissolving the marriage rendered by a court in Ecuador. The husband later filed a Motion to Amend Complaint (#106) dated March 26, 2003, seeking to add a second count to the Complaint praying for a Declaratory Judgment upholding the Ecuadorian decree.

The husband appeared with his attorney and offered testimony and evidence. The wife was not present.

FINDINGS
The court having heard the testimony of the plaintiff and having considered the evidence, hereby makes the following findings:

1. That the parties were married on September 3, 1978, in Quingeo Parish, County of Cuenca, Province of Azuay, Ecuador. CT Page 8690

2. That three children were born to the wife, two of whom have reached their majority, and the third, Lilly, born September 19, 1989, is still a minor and resides with the husband.

3. That the husband has resided in the United States for approximately 18 years, and the wife has resided in the United States for approximately 16 years.

4. That on March 1, 1994, the parties gave a Special Power of Attorney, by “mutual accord,” to the Ecuadorian Consul in New York, New York, with authority to proceed on their behalf to obtain a dissolution of their marriage in Ecuador, in their absence.

5. That on June 8, 1994, the marriage of the parties was dissolved by decree of the 15th Civil Court in Cuenca, Ecuador.

6. That at the time of the decree dissolving their marriage, both parties would have been unable to return to the United States if they went to Ecuador to obtain said decree, since they were not legally in this country at the time.

7. That since the date of the decree dissolving their marriage, and reliance thereon, both parties have remarried, however, the wife’s second marriage has also been dissolved.

8. That at the time of the decree dissolving their marriage, the husband was also known as Jorge Ruben Abad Toledo, and the wife was also known as Janeth Ochoa Rodas.

9. That the wife was duly served within the State of Connecticut; and that she has notice of the pendency of these proceedings.

10. That there is a strong presumption in favor of the validity of marriages, in particular where there are minor children. Carabetta v. Carabetta, 182 Conn. 344, 346-47 (1980).

11. That under all the facts and circumstances, it is equitable and appropriate to give practical recognition to the decree of the 15th Civil Court of Cuenca dated June 8, 1994, dissolving the marriage of the parties and awarding custody of the minor children to the husband, subject to the wife’s rights of visitation, all as set forth therein. Bruneau v. Bruneau, 3 Conn. App. 453, 456-57 (1985); Baker v. Baker, 39 Conn. Sup. 66, 71 (1983).

12. That the court has subject matter jurisdiction; and that the proper CT Page 8691 method of giving recognition to the validity of the foreign decree is by means of a declaratory judgment. Manndorff v. Dax, 13 Conn. App. 282, 287
(1988).

ORDER
Pursuant to General Statutes § 52-29, for the foregoing reasons, the court HEREBY DECLARES that the decree of the 15th Civil Court of Cuenca dated June 8, 1994, is valid, and that the marriage of the parties hereto was dissolved thereby.

THE COURT

SHAY, J. CT Page 8692