Hengel v. Hengel
"To constitute contempt, a party's conduct must be wilful. . . . Noncompliance alone will not support a judgment of contempt," pursuant to Behrns v. Behrns, a 2003 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The parties divorced in 2009. The wife sought to eliminate one weekday visit from the ex-husband per week. "Although the parties have horrible communication problems and have had some visitation issues," wrote the court, "the parenting schedule is generally followed." The court denied the wife's motion to modify visitation. The husband moved to find the wife in contempt of court, because she allegedly failed to inform the husband about whether their 15-year-old son would accompany her on vacation in April 2012 and, if not, who would take care of him. The court found that although the wife should have informed the husband that her boyfriend would take care of the son, the wife probably expected the husband to call the son on his cell. The wife's violation of the separation contract was not willful, and the court did not find the wife in contempt of court. The husband also argued the wife wrongfully denied the husband visitation in February 2012, when school was dismissed early because of snow. The wife had sent the husband an e-mail to cancel visitation because the roads were slippery. Allegedly, the husband pulled into the driveway anyway and waited for the children, then called the police, who arranged to make-up the visitation another day. The court did not find the wife in contempt of court. The husband also moved to find the wife in contempt because their daughter only called the husband three times during an eight-day vacation. The wife testified that the daughter attempted to call nearly every day. The court did not find the wife in contempt. The wife also moved to modify child support, because she lost her job. The husband likewise moved to modify, because his income decreased. The court found that the parties are underemployed. It denied the motions to modify and reminded the parties that they are obligated to maximize earnings, to support their children.