Connecticut Trial Court Official Decisions
WATERMAN v. WATERMAN, No. FA04-012 92 66 S (May 26, 2006)
DIANE M. WATERMAN v. KENNETH C. WATERMAN. 2006 Ct. Sup.
10056 No. FA04-012 92 66 S Connecticut Superior Court
Judicial District of Middlesex Regional Family Trial Docket
at Middletown May 26, 2006
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the
issuing court.] MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
HOLLY ABERY-WETSTONE, JUDGE.
This matter was tried before the Regional Family Trial
Docket, on a referral from the New London Judicial
District, on May 15th-19th, 22nd, 23rd, and 26th, 2006. The
Plaintiff, Defendant and several witnesses testified and
exhibits were introduced. The court has considered all of
the credible evidence presented to it and carefully
considered the respective criteria for orders of child
support, health insurance, payment of children’s medical
expenses, alimony, property settlement, division of debt,
and award of counsel fees. The court makes the following
findings of facts and orders:
The parties were married on May 25, 1985, in Berkeley,
California. The court finds that it has jurisdiction over
the marriage. One of the parties has lived in the State of
Connecticut for more than one year prior to bringing this
action. The following minor children have been born to the
parties since the date of the marriage:
Philip, date of birth, May 16, 1992; and
Robin, date of birth, January 8, 1997.
No other minor children have been born to the Wife since
the date of the marriage. The parties are not receiving
state assistance. The court finds that the marriage between
the parties has broken down irretrievably and there is no
reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
The wife is 47 years old and has a BS from MIT and Ph.D.
in chemistry from Berkeley. After the couple married, they
relocated to New York City for the husband to pursue a post
doctorate program at Columbia University. Ms. Waterman took
classes in CT Page 10057 computer sciences at Columbia
from 1985-1987. In 1987, the couple moved to Boston, MA so
the husband could take a position with Polaroid. Ms.
Waterman worked for Boston Children’s Hospital in the MIS
Department for approximately three years. She left when her
supervisor started a new company and was employed by Cerner
for 3 1/2 years. She was then employed by BBN Software
Products which changed names several times during the
course of her employment. When the couple left Boston in
1999, the company was known as Clinsoft. Her maximum
full-time earnings were $100,000.00
While living in the Boston area, the husband and wife were
both employed full-time and the children were in daycare or
school. They shared the child rearing duties equally.
Mr. Waterman, also 47, left his position at Polaroid in
1999 to take a position at Pfizer. He began the position
before the end of the school year and commuted to Concord,
MA on weekends. The family relocated to CT in the summer of
1999. Ms. Waterman commenced working 28 hours a week for
her employer. Some of her work was performed from home and
she traveled to Boston one day per week. In 2001, the
company was bought out and Ms. Waterman was laid off. Ms.
Waterman unsuccessfully looked for a job and then,
according to her testimony, decided to become a stay at
home mother without any discussion with her husband.
During the period Ms. Waterman was a stay at home mother,
the children were in school or daycare full-time. Ms.
Waterman took the children to a wide variety of after
Mr. Waterman also has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Berkeley
and is currently employed by Pfizer as a chemist earning
$162,357.00 per year plus stock options and restricted
stock grants that vest over a period of time.
The court articulated the additional facts it took into
consideration in making the orders on the record and a
transcript is attached.
After considering all of the statutory criteria set forth
in General Statutes Â§ 46b-84 as to support of a
minor child, Â§ 46b-215a-1 et seq., Regs. Conn. State
Agencies, as to child support, Â§ 46b-62 as to
counsel fees, Â§ 46b-66a, as to conveyance of real
property, Â§ 46b-81, as to assignment of property and
transfer of title, Â§ 46b-82, as to the award of
alimony, Â§ CT Page 10058 46b-84, as to medical
insurance for minor children, together with applicable case
law and the evidence presented here, the Court hereby
enters the following orders:
1. DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE:
A decree dissolving the marriage, on the grounds of
irretrievable breakdown, shall enter on May 26, 2006.
2. CUSTODY AND ACCESS:
The Father shall have temporary sole legal custody of the
minor children until further order of the court. The father
shall make decisions regarding the children’s health
(including mental health treatment), education and
religious upbringing after consulting with mother in the
co-parenting therapy ordered below. If mother fails to
attend co-parenting therapy, father’s obligation shall be
1. Summer access schedule (Philip): Primary physical
residence of Philip shall be with the father for the summer
vacation period of 2006. Philip’s residence with the father
shall commence June 23rd at 6 p.m. The mother shall be
responsible for transporting Philip, and the clothing and
belongings he wishes to take, to the father’s home. The
mother shall have access with Philip on alternating
weekends from Saturday at noon to Monday morning drop off
at camp or father’s home at 8 am, commencing June 30th. The
mother shall also have access with Philip every Wednesday
evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
2. Summer access schedule (Robin): Primary physical
residence of Robin shall be with the mother for the summer
vacation period of 2006. The father shall have access with
Robin on alternating weekends from Friday at 4 p.m. to
Sunday at 7 p.m., commencing June 23rd. Father shall also
have access with Robin every Thursday evening from 5 p.m.
to 9 p.m.
3. School year residence and access: During the school
year, and until further order of the Court, the Mother
shall have primary physical custody of the minor children
and the Father shall have access with the children as
a. Philip: Alternating Thursdays from after school to the
commencement of school Tuesday morning; intervening
Fridays from 4 p.m. to Saturday at noon;
CT Page 10059
b. Robin: Alternating Fridays from 4 p.m. to the
commencement of school on Monday (or the commencement of
school Tuesday if Monday is a school holiday); intervening
Fridays from 4 p.m. to Saturday at noon.
c. The children’s alternating weekends with father shall
coincide so they are together on their long weekend with
4. Holiday access:
a. The parents shall alternate the Thanksgiving holiday
annually, with the Mother having the minor children every
odd-numbered year and the Father having the minor children
every even-numbered year. The “Thanksgiving holiday” shall
be defined as Wednesday from after school through Sunday
at 7 p.m.;
b. The Mother shall have the first portion of the
Christmas school vacation annually, with the Father having
the minor children from 5 p.m. on December 27th until 7
p.m. on the day before school commences in January.
c. Hanukah & Passover: the Father shall be entitled to be
with the minor children on one evening for Hanukah and one
evening for Passover. “Evening” shall be defined as 4 p.m.
to 9 p.m. He shall notify the Mother via e-mail of the
date he intends to exercise this access no less than
thirty days prior to. All access on Hanukah and Passover
take priority over the regular access schedule.
d. Easter & Christmas: The Mother shall be entitled to be
with the minor children every Christmas and Easter. The
Easter holiday shall be defined as 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on
Easter Sunday. All access on Easter and Christmas take
priority over the regular access schedule.
e. School vacation weeks: The Mother shall be entitled to
the entire February school vacation week annually and the
Father shall be entitled to the entire April school
vacation week annually. All CT Page 10060 religious
holidays take priority during school vacation weeks.
f. Summer vacation: each parent shall be entitled to take
two non-consecutive weeks of vacation with the minor
children annually. Each party shall notify the other via
e-mail of the weeks they intend to take no later than
April 1 annually (but in 2006 by June 10th). In the event
that there is a conflict in the weeks chosen, the Mother
shall have first choice in all odd-numbered years and the
Father shall have first choice in all even-numbered years.
Each “week” shall run from Saturday at 10 a.m. to Saturday
at 10 a.m. During the summer of 2006, both parents’
vacation access shall not interrupt the therapy orders
g. The Mother shall have access with the minor children
every Mother’s Day weekend from Friday after school until
return to school Monday morning. The Father shall have
access with the minor children every Father’s Day from
Friday after school/camp until return to school/camp
h. The parents shall alternate the children’s birthdays
with father having Philip’s birthday in odd years and
Robin’s birthday in even years. Mother shall have Philip’s
birthday in even years and Robin’s birthday in odd years.
5. This matter shall be continued to the week of August
14, 2006 for review of custody and access orders.
6. The Mother shall transport the children to the Father’s
home at the commencement of all access and the Father shall
return the minor children to the Mother’s residence at the
7. The minor child, Robin, shall immediately (defined as
within 7 business days of the date of this order) be
enrolled in counseling with a Ph.D. level psychologist.
Said counseling shall occur at a minimum of once per week
and shall not be terminated by either party absent a court
order. The choice of the therapist shall be made by the
father with the advice and assistance of the GAL and AMC
from the following therapists: Susan Berry, Ph.D., Suzanne
Derry, Ph.D., or Renee Rhodes, Ph.D. The father and CT Page
10061 mother shall immediately comply with all payment
requirements of the therapist selected. They shall sign a
release to allow the Guardian Ad Litem to speak to the
therapist and inquire about Robin’s attendance and
cooperation with the therapy.
The goal of therapy is to transform Robin’s distorted,
rigidly held, polarized view of her father as “all bad” and
her mother as “all good” into more realistic and measured
perceptions, rooted in Robin’s actual experience with both
her parents. Additionally, the goal of this therapy is to
restore appropriate co-parental and parent-child roles
within the family unit. Once this therapy commences, it
shall progress as speedily as is practicable while
continuing to ensure that Robin is in an emotionally safe
environment. Neither parent shall have input into the
frequency or duration of the therapy. The parents shall
sign a release so Robin’s therapist may speak to the
therapists selected to treat the parents below to
coordinate services provided to the family. The mother and
father shall immediately provide written authorization for
the therapist selected to speak with the Guardian Ad Litem
regarding Robin’s treatment goals and progress. Mother and
father shall both be entitled to speak to the therapist
regarding the general progress Robin is making in her
therapy. The therapist shall be entitled to ask either or
both parents to participate in sessions at her discretion.
8. Mother shall within 7 days make immediate arrangements
to undergo a complete psychological evaluation by Dr.
James Connolly, Ph.D. or Dr. Barbora Berkqwitz, Ph.D. The
choice of the forensic evaluator shall be determined by
which psychologist has the earliest time available to
complete the evaluation. This shall be determined by the
GAL. The forensic evaluation shall not be privileged and
shall be made available to the Attorney for the Minor
Children, the Guardian Ad Litem, mother’s treating
therapist, Robin’s treating therapist and the co-parenting
therapist. The cost of the evaluation shall be borne by the
mother. The mother shall immediately comply with all
payment requirements of the evaluator selected. She shall
sign a release to allow the Guardian Ad Litem to speak to
the evaluator and inquire about the mother’s attendance and
prompt cooperation with the evaluation.
9. Father shall engage in counseling that will provide him
the opportunity to progress in harnessing his emotions,
anger, and frustration at his situation, gain insight into
the effect of his assertiveness, and gain empathy for
Robin’s emotional state and CT Page 10062 her
psychological and emotional view of him, her mother, and
her own life circumstances. Father shall sign a release so
that his therapist may speak to Robin’s therapist and the
co-parenting therapist selected to coordinate services
provided to the family (see #13 below). The father shall
immediately comply with all payment requirements of the
therapist selected. He shall sign a released to allow the
Guardian Ad Litem to speak to the therapist and inquire
about the father’s attendance and cooperation with the
therapy. In all other respects the father’s privilege with
his therapist shall be protected.
10. Mother shall engage in therapy with a psychologist or
psychiatrist within seven days of the date of this order.
Therapy shall occur at a minimum of once per week and shall
not be terminated absent a court order. In that therapy,
the mother must progress to develop the ability to support
her daughter in a relationship with her father that is not
dependent on the mother’s rigid views of father; she must
develop tools and techniques to not view and regard her
daughter as able only to be protected by her; she must
develop skills to overcome her tendencies and compulsions
to eliminate from her life those men who abandon her.
Mother shall sign a release so that her therapist may speak
to Robin’s therapist and the co-parenting therapist.
Mother’s therapist shall be provided with a copy of the
forensic evaluation of mother as soon as it is available.
The mother shall immediately comply with all payment
requirements of the therapist selected. She shall sign a
release to allow the Guardian Ad Litem to speak to the
therapist and inquire about the mother’s attendance and
cooperation with the therapy. In all other respects the
mother’s privilege with her therapist shall be protected.
11. The court finds that Mother’s cooperation and
compliance with the above orders is vital to the mental
health of her children, particularly Robin. Failure to
follow these orders by mother shall be grounds for an
immediate change of residential custody and termination or
limitation of mother’s parental access to the children. Any
failure to comply with these orders shall be filed with the
RFTD and shall be heard within 7 days.
12. COPARENTING THERAPY: The parties shall seek the
assistance of the PEACE Program, established by Beacon
Behavioral Services, LLC, Glastonbury, CT; Kids First,
established by Hiebel and Roeder, Family and Child
Associates in Middletown, CT; or Enduring Families, LLC
established by Louis G. Tufano, Ph.D. and CT Page 10063
Roseanne Tufano, LMFT, OTR/L, in Branford, CT, to facilitate
the parents’ attempts to peacefully confer with each other
on all important matters pertaining to the children’s
health, education, welfare and upbringing. The parties
shall equally share the costs associated with the selected
program or therapist. The Guardian Ad Litem shall confer
with both parents and contact the program to make the
initial appointment for the parties. Thereafter, the
parties shall be responsible for scheduling weekly
appointments in compliance with the program requirements.
The parents shall immediately comply with all payment
requirements of the program selected. They shall sign
releases to allow the Guardian Ad Litem to speak to the
therapist and inquire about the parents’ attendance and
cooperation with the program. Once the program is selected,
the parents shall continue to participate on a weekly
basis, or as designated by the selected program, until the
program has been successfully completed.
The court notes that the co-parenting therapy will not be
covered by health insurance and orders the fees to be
equally divided by the parties.
13. The children shall each be permitted to participate in
one musical, one athletic and one cultural or community
service (such as dance or Boy Scouts) extracurricular
activity per week. None of the activities shall take place
on Friday night on a regular basis although concerts,
recitals and championship games shall be allowable
exceptions. Mother shall NOT schedule or suggest activities
to the children that take place during father’s parenting
time. Attendance at therapy sessions shall take priority
over all extracurricular events.
14. MISCELLANEOUS PARENTING PROVISIONS:
A. In matters concerning parenting, each party shall
endeavor to further the best interests of the minor
children and facilitate close ties between the minor
children and the other party. Neither party shall
arbitrarily hinder nor interfere with the relationship of
the minor children with the other party. Each parent shall
exert every reasonable effort to maintain free access and
unhampered contact between the minor children and the
other parent, subject to the terms of this order. Neither
parent shall do anything which may estrange the minor
children from the other parent or which may hamper CT Page
10064 the free and natural development of the minor
children’s love and respect for the other parent.
B. Each party shall keep the other reasonably informed as
to the whereabouts of the minor children at all times when
they are with the plaintiff or the defendant, as the case
may be. The parties shall provide each other with an
advance itinerary, via the ourfamilywizard.com web site
(see #7 below), listing the dates, addresses and telephone
numbers of each place he/she intends to take the minor
children at any time the minor children do not sleep at
his/her residence for two or more consecutive nights
during any period.
C. Each party shall keep the other informed of his/her
place of residence and telephone number, cell phone number
and work telephone number, and shall promptly notify the
other of any changes during the minority of their
D. Each party shall have free and unhampered access to
all records and information concerning the welfare of the
minor children including, without limitation, medical,
psychological, and dental, and to be furnished with copies
of all reports given by such people directly from the
provider/institution. Further, each party shall be
entitled to all information from any teacher or school
giving instruction to the minor children, and to be
furnished with copies of all reports and documents (which
shall also include notices of parent meetings, school
performances, extra-curricular activities and the like)
given by such teacher(s) or school(s) directly from such
teacher(s) or school(s). Each party shall be responsible
for securing such medical, educational or other
information for himself/herself directly from such third
parties and neither party shall restrict or interfere with
the other party’s right to receive such information.
E. The parties shall keep each other advised of upcoming
events and activities in the academic and social life of
the minor children so that each may attend and participate
in those events and CT Page 10065 activities. The parties
shall also share equally any tickets distributed or
otherwise available for school and extra-curricular
activities/events, if same are limited in number. Each
party shall bear the cost, if any, of his/her share of
F. The details of the court orders shall be explained to
the children by the Guardian Ad Litem and/or the Attorney
for the Minor Children.
G. The parents shall confer with each other —
initially in the co-parenting therapy ordered herein
— concerning major education issues such as
repeating or skipping a grade, assessing for special
education programs or gifted programs, but the Father
shall make the final decision.
H. The parents shall both be listed as person(s) to be
notified in case of an emergency. Their names, telephone
numbers and addresses shall be listed on all school,
caretaker, health care provider and activity records and
updated within 48 hours of any change of information.
I. The parent who has responsibility for the children on
a particular day may participate in activities such as
field trips, athletic practice, music lessons, skating
lessons, Boy Scout meetings and the like; the other parent
shall not participate. In the event of a concert, recital,
game, award ceremony or the like, both parents shall be
entitled to attend but neither shall do anything to
disrupt the proceedings or embarrass the children.
J. Neither parent shall interfere or create difficulties
if both are attending an event involving the children.
3. CHILD SUPPORT: Child Support and work-related daycare
expenses shall be paid pursuant to the Connecticut Child
Support Guidelines. The father shall pay the mother the sum
of $389.00 per week as child support and shall contribute
43% of all work-related daycare expenses.
4. UNREIMBURSED MEDICAL EXPENSES – MINOR CHILDREN:
CT Page 10066
All unreimbursed medical, dental (including orthodontia),
psychiatric/psychological, therapeutic, prescriptive, and
optical expenses, including insurance deductibles, incurred
on behalf of the minor children, shall be paid 43% by the
defendant and 57% by the plaintiff.
The obligation to contribute to unreimbursed expenses
shall continue as to both parties until each child reaches
the age of eighteen (18) years, but if she/he is a
full-time high school student, it shall continue until
she/he completes the twelfth grade or attains the age of
nineteen (19) years, whichever first occurs.
5. ALIMONY: The husband shall pay the wife alimony in the
amount of $600.00 per week for a period of four (4) years
from the date of dissolution. Alimony shall terminate on
the earliest to occur of the husband’s or wife’s death, the
wife’s remarriage, 4 years from the date of judgment, or
cohabitation of the wife pursuant to the statutes and
Gervas v. Gervas, 91 Conn.App. 840 (2005).
Alimony shall be modifiable as to amount if the wife earns
in excess of $75,000 net income per year. Alimony shall be
non-modifiable as to term.
6. MEDICAL INSURANCE AND UNREIMBURSED MEDICALS-CHILDREN:
The husband shall maintain, at his sole expense, the
present medical/dental insurance for the children which is
provided to him through his employment. If said insurance
is no longer available to the husband through his
employment at a reasonable cost, the parties shall equally
share the cost of obtaining such medical and dental
The provisions of 46b-84(e) shall apply.
7. PARENTAL COMMUNICATION:
The parties shall use the OurFamilyWizard.com web site to
communicate information regarding the minor children.
Mother shall send Father an e-mail through the web site
every Monday and Father shall respond by Wednesday. The
parties shall check the website at a minimum of once each
day on or before noon. The parents are both ordered to use
the web site for all other CT Page 10067 non-emergency
communications and scheduling of the children’s activities.
8. PROPERTY DIVISION:
(a) REAL PROPERTY:
The husband shall quit claim to the wife, all his right,
title and interest in the real property located at 11
Jeremy Drive, East Lyme, Connecticut. The wife shall hold
the husband harmless and indemnified from the mortgage,
taxes, utilities and maintenance for the home. The wife
shall refinance the family home within 12 months from the
date of judgment, removing the husband’s name from the
(b) FIDELITY INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS:
The husband shall have as his sole property the first
$159,500 from the joint Fidelity investment account and the
balance shall be equally divided between the parties within
7 days of the date of the judgment. The Fidelity investment
account in the wife’s sole name shall be equally divided
within 7 days of the date of the judgment.
(c) RETIREMENT ASSETS:
The husband’s Pfizer SIP, the wife’s two Fidelity IRAs, and
the husband’s Fidelity Rollover IRA shall all be equalized
by rollover or QDRO and one half the value of the husband’s
Pfizer Defined Benefit Plan shall be transferred to the
wife by QDRO within 45 days of the date of dissolution. The
parties shall equally share in the cost of drafting any
QDROs required to equalize the retirement assets.
(d) CHECKING AND SAVINGS ACCOUNTS:
The joint Citizens and Ledglight checking and savings
accounts shall be equally divided within 7 days of the date
(e) STOCK OPTIONS AND RESERVED STOCK:
All fully vested stock options (with a value less than the
share price as of the date of dissolution) and fully vested
restricted stock option units shall be equally divided
between CT Page 10068 the husband and wife within 45 days
of the date of the dissolution.
The husband and wife shall each have as their sole property
the automobile he/she is currently driving. If necessary,
they shall each sign title over to the other within 7 days
of the date of judgment. They shall hold the other harmless
and indemnified from any loans, personal property taxes,
insurance, registration and repairs for said vehicle.
10. DEPENDENCY EXEMPTIONS:
The husband shall be entitled to claim both children as
dependents for all tax reporting purposes if his child
support payments, medical expense and work-related
childcare reimbursements are current as of December 31st of
the calendar year. Each party shall sign any documentation
necessary to effectuate this order.
11. LIFE INSURANCE:
As long as the husband has any financial obligation for
alimony, child support or post-majority educational support,
he shall designate the wife and minor children as the
beneficiaries of a term life insurance policy with a face
value of $300,000. The life insurance, which the husband is
obligated to provide, is an element of support and
maintenance and shall be subject to modification upon a
substantial change in circumstances; the Court shall retain
jurisdiction for such purpose.
As long as the wife has any financial obligation for child
support or post-majority educational support, she shall
designate the husband and minor children as the
beneficiaries of a term life insurance policy with a face
value of $300,000 and/or a premium not to exceed $350.00
per year. The life insurance, which the wife is obligated
to provide, is an element of support and maintenance and
shall be subject to modification upon a substantial change
in circumstances; the Court shall retain jurisdiction for
12. PERSONAL PROPERTY:
The wife shall be entitled to all of the furnishings and
CT Page 10069 personal property in the family home.
13. CHILDREN’S ASSETS:
The husband shall continue to hold the children’s assets
as custodian for their benefit. He shall consult and notify
the wife 30 days in advance in writing of all intended
withdrawals from these accounts advising her of the amount
and purpose of the withdrawal.
14. EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT ORDER:
The Court shall retain jurisdiction to enter an education
and support award for each child as of the time that each
child enters college.
15. COUNSEL FEES:
Each of the parties shall be responsible for his or her
respective professional fees incurred in connection with
The defendant shall pay 43% percent, and the plaintiff 57%
percent of the fees due the children’s Attorney and their
Guardian Ad Litem. The court finds the fees charged by the
AMC and GAL to be reasonable and necessary to protect the
best interests of the minor children. This sum is
considered additional support and is not intended by this
court to be discharged in bankruptcy. The fees due the AMC
and GAL shall be paid in full within 30 days of the date of
The Middletown RTFD shall retain jurisdiction over
custody, access, and orders for therapy for a period of one
year from the date of judgment. All motions regarding such
shall be filed at the Middletown RFTD. CT Page 10070