The dispositive issue in these consolidated cases is whether the trial court properly concluded that a parent's record of intentional nonsupport of his family demonstrated, by clear and convincing evidence, a failure to meet parental responsibilities within the meaning of General Statutes § 45a-610
The legislature has set the standard that governs a petition for the removal of a surviving parent as the guardian of his or her children. Section 45a-610 authorizes the removal of a parent as guardian only if, by clear and convincing evidence, the court finds the existence of one or more of four statutory grounds. See footnote 1. In these cases, each petition for removal alleged that "[t]he minor child has been abandoned by the parent ... in the sense that the parent ... has failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility for the minor's welfare." See General
With respect to each petition, the trial court determined that the alleged statutory grounds for removal had been proven by clear and convincing evidence. The trial court's central finding of fact was that the defendant "could have and should have supported his children ... [but] clearly did not do so." Ruling on the allegation of abandonment pursuant to § 45a-610 (2), the trial court held that the defendant's sustained and intentional failure to support his children constituted a failure "to maintain a reasonable degree of ... responsibility for [their] ... welfare." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Ruling on the allegation of denial of care pursuant to § 45a-610 (3), the trial court held that the defendant's sustained and intentional failure to support his children constituted an act of parental omission that resulted in the denial to the children of "the care necessary for their physical well-being" and demonstrated that the defendant "was not ... of sufficient maturity and responsibility to assume the burdens and duties of a parent and guardian."
In his appeal to this court, the defendant challenges, for two reasons, the validity of his removal as guardian. First, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly failed to give sufficient weight to the principle of family integrity. That principle, which is reflected in our custody statute; General Statutes § 46b-56b;
Our examination of the record on this appeal, and the briefs and the arguments of the parties, persuades us that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed. In its thoughtful and comprehensive memorandum of decision, the trial court properly analyzed the applicable provisions of § 45a-610 and properly applied the facts of record in concluding that the requirements of the statute had been met and that the defendant should be removed as guardian of his children. Garrett's Appeal From Probate, 44 Conn.Sup. 169, 677 A.2d 1000 (1994). Because the trial court's
The judgment is affirmed.
In this case, there was no record of the proceedings in the Probate Court.