Robinson v. Robinson

Decision Date04 May 1982
Citation187 Conn. 70,444 A.2d 234
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesRichard H. ROBINSON v. Marlene S. ROBINSON.

Joseph A. Mengacci, Waterbury, for appellant (defendant).

Neal B. Hanlon, Naugatuck, for appellee (plaintiff).


PARSKEY, Associate Justice.

The parties were married in 1974. Early in September of 1979, the defendant was summoned for jury duty at the Superior Court in Waterbury and shortly thereafter met a reporter who was covering a trial in progress at the court. This casual meeting quickly developed into an amorous relationship, to the point that by September 20 she told the plaintiff about her desire to seek a divorce and by October 12 she left the family residence, moved to another community and there carried on a clandestine affair with the reporter. As a result of the defendant's conduct the plaintiff suffered humiliation and mental anguish.

The parties were joint owners of a savings account in the amount of $7355 and of the family residence in Naugatuck. The parties divided the savings account equally and the court disposed of the residence in its final decree. The defendant made no claim for either periodic or lump sum alimony. She did claim an assignment of property pursuant to General Statutes § 46-51 (now § 46b-81). In granting a dissolution of the marriage the trial court, "[t]aking into consideration the norms prescribed in § 46b-81(c) with particular emphasis on the conduct of the defendant, the sums already received by her, [and] the humiliation and mental suffering of the plaintiff ..." ordered the defendant to convey to the plaintiff her interest in the family dwelling subject to a lien in her favor to secure payment of $4100. The defendant's principal claim is that in making its assignment of property the trial court gave inordinate weight to the cause of the breakdown of the marriage and in doing so erroneously considered factors such as humiliation and mental anguish. We do not agree.

Because an action for dissolution of marriage is a creature of statute, it is sometimes assumed that the statute not only creates the grounds for relief but also circumscribes the remedy. Although created by statute, a dissolution action is essentially equitable in nature. Pasquariello v.Pasquariello, 168 Conn. 579, 583, 362 A.2d 835 (1975). "The power to act equitably is the keystone to the court's ability to fashion relief in the infinite variety of circumstances which arise out of the dissolution of a marriage." Id., 585, 362 A.2d 835. General Statutes § 46b-81 sets forth certain criteria for the court to consider in making an assignment of property. Although in making its financial determinations the court is required to consider these criteria; Valante v. Valante, 180 Conn. 528, 530, 429 A.2d 964 (1980); Fucci v. Fucci, 179 Conn. 174, 179, 425 A.2d 592 (1979); in...

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  • Keogh v. City of Bridgeport
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • May 4, 1982
  • Hornung v. Hornung
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • September 20, 2016
    ...the alimony statute, when awarding alimony, because dissolution actions are “essentially equitable in ... nature”; Robinson v. Robinson , 187 Conn. 70, 72, 444 A.2d 234 (1982) ; and the resulting financial orders are “entirely interwoven.”16 (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Greco v. Grec......
  • Loughlin v. Loughlin
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • February 7, 2006
    ...properly may consider other equitable factors when crafting its property distribution and alimony orders. See Robinson v. Robinson, 187 Conn. 70, 72, 444 A.2d 234 (1982); Demartino v. Demartino, 79 Conn.App. 488, 500, 830 A.2d 394 (2003). The defendant claims that the court here, in fashion......
  • Darak v. Darak
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 21, 1989
    ...which arise out of the dissolution of marriage." ' " LaCroix v. LaCroix, 189 Conn. 685, 689, 457 A.2d 1076 (1983); Robinson v. Robinson, 187 Conn. 70, 72, 444 A.2d 234 (1982). The plaintiff has not challenged the trial court's factual finding that an equitable redistribution of the financia......
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