• Connecticut Appellate Court
  • AC 34485
  • Aug 06 2013 (Date Decided)
  • Alvord, J.

As explained in the 2005 Appellate Court case of Fewtrell v. Fewtrell, "[a]though the court does not have the authority to modify a property assignment, a court, after distributing property,  which includes assigning the debts and liabilities of the parties, does have the authority to issue postjudgment orders effectuating its judgment." The court dissolved the 22-year-long marriage of the plaintiff, Valerie O'Halpin, and the defendant, James O'Halpin, attributing fault to both parties, awarding no alimony or counsel fees, and ordering, inter alia, the marital residence, the primary remaining marital asset, sold as soon as practicable. The court ordered the parties to accept the real estate broker's advice regarding the initial listing price and to reduce the listing price no less than 3 percent every 45 days until the property was sold. Both parties had grown children from prior marriages and traveled extensively, living largely in excess of their means. The plaintiff's motion for re-argument and reconsideration was denied. She appealed. The defendant filed a postjudgment motion requesting a reduction in the listing price. The plaintiff contended that reducing the price would be an impermissible modification of the property award. The court responded that it had provided for reducing the listing price in 45 day increments until the property was sold. After hearing from the broker, the court ordered the $1,259,000 listing price reduced to $1,100,000 and, if not sold within 30 days, the price reduced to $999,000 and further reduced every 45 days by 3 percent until sold. The plaintiff amended her appeal. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Because the plaintiff did not provide transcripts of hearings held regarding discovery issues, her claims on appeal could not be reviewed that the court improperly failed to hold the defendant accountable for discovery misconduct and improperly refused to admit evidence of his dissipation of marital assets. The plaintiff's contention was rejected that the court improperly modified the property award postjudgment by ordering the sale of the residence at a reduced price. Comparing the original judgment's provisions with the ruling reducing the listing price, the Appellate Court concluded that the ruling was an effectuation of the court's original distribution of marital property rather than an improper postjudgment modification.