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Showing posts with label BUDLONG AND BARRETT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BUDLONG AND BARRETT. Show all posts

Thursday, May 7, 2015


I will grant the fundamental belief that Colleen Kerwick goes by, that in order for a child to be safe and healthy, he or she requires the positive involvement of both parents.  In situations where parents get along reasonably well and live closely to each other, it is possible to put together a very effective shared parenting plan.  This would be in the the best interests of the child in most circumstances.  

However, if an abusive parent simply uses the  close proximity to the other parent and the extensive access to the other parent that comes along with shared parenting, as a means to continue the abuse, the end result can be disastrous.  Unfortunately, this is what took place in the Savino v. Savino case.  

The shared parenting plan was in place from the beginning and then was memorialized in the Marital Settlement Agreement of March 25, 2013.  

I bring this agreement up because it is the mean spirited nature of this agreement that set up Colleen Kerwick to continue being embroiled in legal disputes well beyond its signing.  

In this agreement, the access schedule was established as follows:  the mother would have the child from after preschool Wednesday until Friday preschool in the morning.  Father was to have the child from every Monday at pickup from preschool until Wednesday morning at preschool.  Then each parent was scheduled to have the child every other weekend.  

I find this a pretty demanding schedule for a three year old child who has some physical challenges, and I would more have been interested in reducing the overnights until he was older.  

Both parents had joint physical custody, and when it came to legal custody, father was given final decision making authority. This makes absolutely no sense in the light of the fact that, according to Dr. Sidney Horowitz, Colleen was the more involved parent and father's judgment was in question given that he was in denial of his child's development delays and medical challenges.  

But just in general, even without those issues, in my opinion, giving one parent decision making authority to the exclusion of the other is the kiss of death.  It pretty much means that any time Colleen wanted to do anything important with her son, she was required to ask for her ex-husband's permission.  Aside from being a humiliating position to be in, sole decision making gives an abusive ex endless opportunities to cause trouble with that kind of power.

I asked Colleen why she agreed to it and she said that she simply didn't want to continue battling with her ex.  I understand that.  It is unfortunate when good people who would really prefer not to fight end up getting taken advantage of.        

Of course, this was not simply the consequence of trying not to fight; there was also a financial factor at play here.  Kenneth Savino had millions and millions of dollars at his disposal to continue the legal battle, while Colleen Kerwick only had the $220,000 she'd agreed to as a settlement in her prenuptial agreement.  This small sum of money which Colleen might have used to rebuild her life after the divorce pretty much ended up being consumed entirely by attorneys fees.  

The bottom line is that Colleen Kerwick wasn't street smart.  She'd had a very amicable divorce from her first husband of six years, and she assumed that she could count on fairness from her second husband--Kenneth Savino.  She had gone into the marriage believing that Mr. Savino was the person he presented himself to her as--a person of good character.  Thus, when she signed the prenuptial agreement, Colleen had not anticipated what would happen in an extended high conflict divorce, and had not ensured in that agreement or subsequent agreements that her ex would pay for her attorney's fees and related divorce costs.  I mean, why would she.  She wasn't out to take advantage of him.

Of course, this point exposes the fact that Kenneth Savino is high deceptive in his dealings.  In speaking to Dr. Sidney Horowitz during the evaluation, Mr. Savino stated, I will "pay her somewhere between $75,000 and $400,000" and this is "okay."  Well, no, that isn't true at all.  By the time Kenneth Savino was done Colleen had nothing and all Mr. Savino did was pay her attorneys.  He knew that at the time he made the remark because he was already scheming to drown her in legal maneuvers at the time he said it.

When it comes to child support, based on the agreement Colleen was allotted $465 per week which is considerably low given Kenneth Savino's resources and lifestyle. Then $65.00 of the child support was taken out to cover the cost of health insurance, which Mr. Savino was amazingly enough willing and able to obtain from the Connecticut HUSKY program, which is intended for people with low income, despite being so wealthy.  You can be sure Mr. Savino has a far better health plan than his son has.

I'm not sure why a businessman with such extensive resources would be interested in using among the most limited health plans in the state.  I mean, to me, that decision alone speaks volumes.  I am also somewhat puzzled because in these situations, it was my understanding that, according to the law, the child is supposed to live in reasonably equivalent circumstances when he goes from one household to the other.  How is he supposed to do that if Colleen Kerwick ends up with nothing, and Kenneth Savino gets everything?  

Further, it is quite striking that the Marital Agreement divides all expenses 50/50 down the line, disregarding Colleen's current low income, which was the result of having to stay in CT due to her extensive legal problems when her job is in New York.  In addition, all other expenses such as medical co-pays and extra-curriculars were also to be divided 50/50 between the parties.  Yes, Colleen is highly educated and there was no doubt she could build up her legal practice for the future.  However, it would have been only reasonable to provide a respite period to allow her to get on her feet before dumping so much of the financial responsibility upon her.  

So what we appear to have is an extremely stingy, punitive agreement put together by a legal team determined to pound Colleen to the ground on every level.  

Of particular interest in regard to this agreement, in terms of details, is the notation under provision 13.2 "International Travel" that "The Father shall hold the child's passport." and also another notation at k.ii indicating the "The Christmas vacation shall begin on December 22."  

The agreement requires that mother go to counseling and well as the father, but in provision I do note that mother will specifically lose access time if she shows evidence of any "alienating behaviors".  You knew that particular nugget would be directed at the mother and not the father!  There is no indication that any bad behavior on the part of father will result in a loss of access.  So the only person who bears any consequences here is the mother.  Talk about gross unfairness--here you have a fundamental example, one that is very typical in the father friendly State of Connecticut.  

I also have to say, I consider it a very unfortunate approach to punish the child for the sins of the mother.

Finally, there is also section 21 which indicates "A modification or waiver of any provisions of this Agreement shall be effective only if made in writing and executed with the same formality as this agreement."  A provision of this kind literally guarantees that the parties will return to court repeatedly.  When you are parenting young children, there are constant small emergencies where you have to change plans and head in a different direction.  

The car breaks down, forget your agreed upon meeting time.

The child vomits all over the back seat, forget your agreed upon meeting time.

The child wants to say a special good bye to the new friend he met in preschool and gets into a big conversation about dinosaurs while he is doing it, forget your agreed upon meeting time.

You are half way to the drop off point when you realize you left the child's medication on the kitchen table, forget your agreed upon meeting time.

I mean, what, are you going to go to court for each and every one of these instances?  Well, yes, if you are going to go strictly by a provision of this kind.  But if you have any kind of common sense, you will let it go.  Of course, if the provision is there so you can continue to persecute your ex-wife on an ongoing basis, then forget what I said.  In that case you have crafted just the Marital Agreement from Hell that you always wanted, and you can keep on wacking your ex with that legal stick as long as you want.  

To be continued...