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Schult v. Schult

Supreme Court of Connecticut
699 A.2d 134 (Conn. 1997)


Facts

Cheryl Schult (plaintiff) and Jeffrey Schult (defendant) were married. The Schults had one child, who suffered from emotional and developmental issues. Cheryl filed a petition for divorce, seeking custody of the child. Joan Radin, the child’s maternal grandmother, intervened in the case. The child was injured while in the care of Cheryl’s live-in boyfriend, Steve Norman. Cheryl and Norman denied that Norman had caused the injury. At Cheryl’s request, the trial court appointed a guardian ad litem for the child. At Jeffrey’s request, the trial court appointed an attorney for the child. Several mental health experts testified that custody of the child should be given to Radin, in part because the child would not be safe with Cheryl and Norman. Cheryl, Norman, and the guardian ad litem were the only witnesses to testify that the child would be safe if custody were granted to Cheryl. The child’s appointed attorney, in her closing arguments, recommended that Radin be granted custody. The trial court granted sole custody of the child to Radin and awarded visitation rights to Cheryl and Jeffrey. The appellate court affirmed. The child’s guardian ad litem appealed, arguing that the guardian ad litem was, in effect, the attorney’s client and thus the attorney should not have been permitted to advocate a position contrary to that of the guardian ad litem.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Borden, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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