Savage v. Savage
In Savage v. Savage, 25 Conn. App. 693, 596 A.2d 23 (1991), the Court considered the appropriateness of compelled postjudgment psychiatric and psychological evaluations of the parties and their minor children in a custody case.
In Savage, the trial court ordered postjudgment evaluations "so that more information could be gathered in hopes that the parties would agree in the future to a custody arrangement or that the attorney for the minor children would move, if appropriate, for a modification of the court's custody order." Id., 699.
The Court noted in Savage that the statutory provisions, 46b-6 and 46b-3, refer to pending family relations matters only and, moreover, that the utility of such evaluations lies in their ability to shed light on the facts of a particular case so that it may be disposed of properly. Id., 700.
"Once a case has been disposed of by the rendition of a final judgment and there is nothing further pending . . . there is no longer a reason for ordering an ongoing evaluation." Id. Consequently, we held that a postjudgment order for a psychological evaluation constitutes an abuse of discretion. Id., 701.
The Court stated that the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered a postjudgment consultation of the parties and the minor with a child expert four times a year "so that more information could be gathered in hopes that the parties would agree in the future to a custody arrangement or that the attorney for the minor children would move, if appropriate, for a modification of the court's custody order." Savage v. Savage, supra, 25 Conn. App. at 699.
The Court stated: "Until such time as a motion for modification of custody is made and a court has altered custody, the original custody award remains undisturbed. . . . The trial court's order here compelling consultation with the counselor for two years into the future is not a proper custody order but rather is an attempt to force consultation for purposes of a postjudgment evaluation. There is no statutory authorization for such an evaluation without a pending motion or matter before a court." Id., at 701.