Malpeso v. Malpeso
Given the presumption favoring the modifiability of child support, an agreement silent as to the modifiability of such support was construed to permit the modification of child support. The defendant, Pasquale Malpeso, filed a motion to modify child support, claiming, inter alia, that the parties' two youngest children had reached the age of majority and had graduated from high school. The trial court sustained the plaintiff's objection to the motion finding that the parties' separation agreement was clear and unambiguous and that the amount of monthly alimony and child support could be modified only pursuant to the terms of paragraph 3.2 of the agreement and that those conditions had not been met. The defendant appealed. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment. Paragraph 3.1 of the agreement provides that until certain conditions are met, the defendant shall pay the plaintiff $20,000 per month "as alimony, or separate maintenance for the support of the minor children." The only plausible interpretation of the clause was that it provided for unallocated alimony and child support. Paragraph 3.2 expressly limited only the modifiability of alimony. The agreement was silent as to the modifiability of child support. Given the presumption favoring the modifiability of child support, the agreement was construed to permit such modification. Judge Alvord concurred separately to highlight the possible tax consequences of the decision and to distinguish this case from the 2012 Connecticut Supreme Court case of Tomlinson v. Tomlinson.