Sebadduka v. Sebadduka
A party who willfully disobeys a clear court order can be held in contempt of court. The parties were married 10 years and had four children, who were born in Connecticut. In 2008, a court dissolved their marriage. The court awarded joint custody, with primary residence with the wife. The parties were not permitted to take the minor children to Uganda for three years. Allegedly, the wife and children moved to Maryland, and the wife failed to refinance or to sell the marital residence. It was foreclosed. In June 2010, the wife and the children traveled to Uganda to visit relatives. The husband paid for the travel. At the end of the summer, the wife informed the husband that she and the children did not intend to return to Connecticut. In 2012, the husband visited Uganda and was only able to visit the youngest child. The husband ceased paying child support, and the wife elected to return to the U.S. without the minor children. The wife's mother cares for the minor children in the wife's absence. Tuition, room and board for the minor children in Uganda is approximately $9,000 per year. The husband requested sole custody. The court did not find the husband in willful contempt of court, because he ceased paying child support in 2012. The wife's decision to leave the children in Uganda, wrote the court, was "inexcusable." The husband did not agree to place the children in boarding schools that he did not approve or to leave them in Uganda without a parent. The wife also failed to pay the mortgage or to refinance or to sell the marital residence, which was foreclosed. The court found the wife in contempt of court. The court granted the husband's request for sole custody, until the wife returns the minor children to the U.S. The court ordered the wife to arrange to return the minor children. If the husband pays the travel costs, he will be entitled to an offset against his child support arrearage of $11,200. The court ended the husband's responsibility to pay child support, effective January 2013.