LISA ABDUS-SALAAM v. QADIR ABDUS-SALAAM.

2011 Ct. Sup. 12529
No. FA 10-4040325SConnecticut Superior Court Judicial District of New Haven at New Haven
May 31, 2011

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.]

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
BERNADETTE CONWAY, Judge.

The parties were married on July 1, 2007 in New Haven, Ct. The plaintiff wife has lived continuously in the State of Connecticut for at least one year prior to the commencement of this dissolution action. The plaintiff wife has a master’s degree in social work and the defendant husband has a master’s degree in education and is scheduled to complete a six-year program in December of 2011 in administration, which will make him eligible for advancement in the public school system.

The plaintiff was laid off from her social work position with the Department of Social Services in February of 2010 and has been unsuccessful in securing new social work employment. She presently collects $395/week in unemployment. When last employed she grossed approximately $30.00/hour (almost thirty dollars an hour for a forty-hour workweek culminates in a gross yearly salary of $62,000). Commencing in the fall of 2011, the plaintiff is enrolled in two college level courses in special education and upon completion of those two classes the plaintiff will be eligible to apply for public school social worker positions.

The defendant husband has been a public school teacher for approximately twelve years. He has spent the past four years employed in the New Britain public school system. Previously he was employed for five years in the Meriden public school system and prior to that he spent two years in the New Haven public school system. The defendant presently grosses $1,552.50/week as a school teacher. Several times a month the defendant also cleans offices as a favor to a friend for which he is paid $40-80/month in cash.

Both parties testified the irretrievable breakdown in their marriage traces back to premarital infidelity issues. While the plaintiff alleges the defendant was repeatedly unfaithful during the course of the marriage, the defendant counters that his adultery was limited to one relationship and said relationship did not commence until after the CT Page 12530 plaintiff’s commencement of the dissolution action. The court finds the plaintiff has not proven her allegations of multiple affairs. What is clear is that the parties began the marriage with issues of distrust and suspicions of infidelity and as the defendant concedes he did not do enough to assuage the plaintiff’s fears. To the contrary, he engaged in behavior which aggravated an already fragile relationship. (See plaintiff’s exhibit 5.)

The parties have one minor child, three-year-old Aliah. Presently the parties share joint legal custody of the minor child and the defendant husband’s parenting occurs on Tuesdays, with pick up from day care at 4:30 p.m. and a drop off at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday parenting time from twelve noon to five p.m. The father testified that his overnight parenting time should commence upon him obtaining his own housing and appropriate sleeping accommodations for the minor child.

The court finds that it has jurisdiction of the matter presently before it. All statutory stays have expired. The court finds that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The marriage is hereby dissolved and the parties are declared to be single and unmarried. After considering all of the statutory criteria set forth in C.G.S. § 46b-82, as to the assignment of alimony and life insurance coverage; C.G.S. § 46b-81, as to assignment of property and transfer of title; C.G.S. § 46b-66a, as to the conveyance of property; C.G.S. § 46b-84 as to child support and health insurance; C.G.S. § 46b-62, as to counsel fees; C.G.S. § 46b-56c, post-secondary education order, as well as the applicable case law and the evidence presented at trial, the court enters the following additional orders:

Custody/Parenting Plan
The parties shall share joint legal custody of the minor child and primary physical custody of the minor child shall vest with the plaintiff mother. The present parenting schedule shall remain in place. Upon the defendant father obtaining appropriate sleeping accommodations for the minor child, father shall then parent the minor child every other weekend from Friday, with pick up at day care until Sunday with a six p.m. drop off. Father’s Tuesday parenting access shall continue in addition to every other weekend.

Pickups shall occur at daycare when possible. Otherwise pick up and drop offs shall be at a mutually agreed location. Both parties shall refrain from making any disparaging or inflammatory remarks at all times but particularly during pick up and drops offs. Both parties shall immediately establish accounts on Our Family Wizard software and the parties shall effectively communicate with one another through Our Family CT Page 12531 Wizard.

The parties shall mutually agree on a vacation and holiday schedule. Each parent is entitled to two non-consecutive weeks of summer vacation with written notification to the other parent at least thirty days in advance of said vacation, if the parties cannot agree on a holiday schedule then the parties shall alternate major holidays: The father shall parent the minor child on July 4th in odd years commencing in July of 2011 and the mother shall parent the minor child in even years. The mother shall parent the minor child in odd years for Labor Day commencing in 2011 and the father shall parent the minor child in even years. The father shall parent the minor child on Thanksgiving in odd years commencing in 2011 and the mother shall parent the minor child m even years. The father shall parent the minor child in odd years for Christmas Eve and the mother shall parent the minor child in odd years on Christmas Day, with an alternating schedule in the even years.

The mother shall parent the minor child on Mother’s Day and the father shall parent the minor child on Father’s Day.

The father shall parent the child on Id UI Fitr and Id UI Adha. If these holidays conflict with the other identified holidays specified above, the parties shall attempt to work out a mutual agreeable accommodation. If the parties cannot agree than the parties shall file a motion with the court and the court will resolve the conflict.

The father and mother will discuss and confer with each other with reference to the important issues involving the health, education, and welfare of the minor child, including but not limited to, residence, camps, schools, religious training, non-emergency medical attention, school records and activities and all other issues that significantly involve the health, welfare and education of the child. The parties will attempt to adopt a harmonious policy suited to the best interests of the child.

Each of the parties agree to keep the other reasonably informed of the whereabouts of the child when the child is taken out of state by that parent. If either parent has knowledge of any illness, injury, accident or other circumstances seriously affecting the health, education or welfare of the child, the parent will promptly notify the other. The word “illness” shall mean any sickness or ailment which requires the services of a physician. The word “injury” shall mean any injury which requires the services of a physician. During any illness or injury or accident, both the mother and father shall have the right of reasonable access and contact with the child in addition to the other rights provided herein. CT Page 12532

Each parent shall have reasonable access to the minor child while the minor child is with the other parent, including free and uninterrupted telephone access at reasonable hours, as well as access by mail. Each parent shall keep the other informed of all telephone and cell phone numbers and any changes thereto.

Both parents shall exert every effort to foster a feeling of affection between the child and the other parent and neither parent shall make any disparaging remarks about the other parent to or in the presence of the child, nor do anything which may estrange the child from the other parent or which in any way may hamper the free and natural development of the child’s love and respect for the other parent.

Neither parent shall relocate with the minor child outside the State of Connecticut or to a location in Connecticut substantially further from the other parent’s home as exists at the present time without 90 days advance written notice to the other parent and further order of the court.

In the event of the illness or personal injury of the child, the first party to learn of such illness or injury shall notify the other immediately and each party shall keep the other informed at all times of the whereabouts of the child. For the purposes of this paragraph, the word “illness” shall mean any sickness or ailment, which requires the service of a physician. The word “injury” shall mean any injury, which requires the services of a physician. During any illness or accident, the parents shall have the rights of reasonable access to see the child in addition to the other parenting time provided herein. Notification shall be made promptly by the fastest method of communication available to the parent with the child.

Each of the parties shall keep the other informed of the whereabouts of the child while the child is with the Father or the Mother and outside the State of Connecticut overnight. The information shall be provided in writing and shall contain the date of the trip, the location, name of hotel or overnight accommodations (if any) and a telephone number where the parent and child may be reached. During any trips if either parent has knowledge of any illness or accident or other circumstances seriously affecting the health or welfare of the child, he/she shall promptly notify the other party.

Each of the parties shall furnish the other copies of any reports from third persons concerning health, education or welfare of the child if not provided to the other parent directly. Each parent has the responsibility CT Page 12533 to contact the child’s schools, teachers, day care providers, coaches and team managers to secure the information for him/her self. If possible, each parent shall give the other forty-eight (48) hours advance notice of any special events involving the minor child including but not limited to plays, recitals, award ceremonies, banquets, sports activities, religious ceremonies, marriages, graduations, school conferences, sports meets and other ceremonies. Each party shall be responsible to transport the child to sports events, ceremonies, concerts and school functions that are scheduled during their parenting responsibility.

Child Support
Pursuant to the child support guidelines and the agreement of the parties, the father shall pay to the mother $193/week in child support. The father shall pay 68% of all un-reimbursed and/or out of pocket health care costs, including medical, dental, orthodontic, psychiatric or psychological for the minor child and 68% of qualified work-related day care expenses.[1]

The father shall provide health insurance for the minor child for as long as it remains available to him through his employer at a reasonable cost.

Post-Secondary Education Support Order
Both parties credibly testified that had they remained an intact family, they would have both contributed to the minor child’s post-secondary education. The court therefore retains jurisdiction pursuant to C.G.S. § 46b-56c.

Alimony
In determining the parameters of an alimony order the court considers the factors outlined in C.G.S. § 46b-82: “. . . the length of the marriage, the causes for the . . . dissolution . . . the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties . . . and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of the minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent’s securing employment.”

Both parties are at fault for the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. The plaintiff entered into the marriage cognizant of her fears and concerns regarding her husband infidelity potential. Her chronic angst impeded the marriage’s ability to flourish and eventually the defendant engaged in behavior that turned the plaintiff’s fears into CT Page 12534 reality.[2]

Both parties are highly educated individuals who are presently on course to complete additional education which will enhance their employment opportunities. The plaintiff’s unemployment since early 2010 should be remedied within the next six to nine months. Therefore the defendant shall pay alimony to the plaintiff in the amount of $175/week for a period of eighteen months, followed by alimony of $100/week for six months. Said alimony is nonmodifiable upward as to term and shall terminate upon the plaintiff’s remarriage, either parties’ death and is subject to modification as to amount pursuant to C.G.S. § 46b-86 and by C.G.S. § 46b-86(b). The defendant shall receive no alimony from the plaintiff.

Dependency Exemption
The parties shall claim the minor child as a dependent in alternate years. The defendant shall claim the exemption in odd years commencing in 2011 and the plaintiff shall claim the exemption in even years commencing in 2012.

Life Insurance
The defendant shall make a good faith effort to obtain life insurance with a death benefit of at least $150,000, (which assumes an alimony obligation of $13,650 and a child support obligation of $193/wk for fifteen years and retained jurisdiction over post-secondary education expenses). The defendant shall purchase as much life insurance as he can for a cost of not less than $1,000/year. As the defendant’s alimony obligation diminishes, the life insurance shall act as collateral toward his child support obligation and toward the secondary education order. The plaintiff shall be the named beneficiary for as long as an alimony obligation exists and then the defendant shall have the discretion to designate a trustee but naming the minor child as the beneficiary of said life insurance policy.

Upon gainful employment the plaintiff shall secure life insurance with the minor child as beneficiary as collateral for the secondary education order. The cost to the plaintiff to secure said life insurance shall cost not less than $500/year.

Pensions/403b
The documents presented at trial reflect that the defendant’s teacher’s pension is presently valued at approximately $36,900 and his 403b account CT Page 12535 is valued at approximately $7,200. It is not entirely clear as to exactly what portion of the 403b account was acquired during the course of the marriage, possibly all of it and it is logical to conclude that if the pension is twelve years old and the parties have been married for the last four years that approximately thirty three percent equals the marital portion of the pension.

Given the court’s overall financial orders, the defendant shall retain sole possession of his pension and the 403b account.

Attorney Fees
The defendant shall pay $4,000 in plaintiff’s attorney fees. The defendant shall immediately contact the plaintiff’s attorney to work out a payment schedule or alternatively he shall pay the $4,000 within ninety days of judgment.

Debt
Each party shall be responsible for their individual debt and indemnify and hold the other party harmless.

[1] At trial, the plaintiff testified that the present day care cost is approximately $24.50/week. The plaintiff has tentative plans to enroll the minor child in one of several summer camps/programs at a significantly greater cost. The court notes the plaintiff is unemployed and assuming the cost of a more expensive summer camp/program for the three-year-old minor child is, given the parties’ overall finances, not prudent or necessary. Hence, the defendant obligations for the summer months shall be capped at 68% of the minor child’s present daycare provider and the defendant shall not be liable for the additional expense of summer camps or summer programs.
[2] Both parties claim the other was physically and verbally abusive. Their mutual arrests substantiate each of their claims. Hopefully, the dissolution of the marriage will allow both of the parties to move forward and each will endeavor to treat the other in a more respective and constructive manner than has previously been the case.

CT Page 12536