CASEY D. (CAVAGNARO) HAMLIN
JASON T. CAVAGNARO
On Briefs September 28, 2015.
briefs: Martha J. Harris, Esq., Paine, Lynch & Harris,
P.A., Bangor, for appellant Jason T. Cavagnaro.
Allen, Esq., Penquis Law Project, Bangor, for appellee Casey
D. (Cavagnaro) Hamlin.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and
[¶1] In this post-judgment divorce appeal,
Jason T. Cavagnaro appeals from an order of the District
Court (Dover-Foxcroft, Stitham, J. ) granting Casey
Hamlin's motion for change of venue, and from an order of
the District Court (Bangor, Campbell, J. ) modifying
a previously amended divorce judgment, awarding Cavagnaro
attorney fees as a remedial sanction for Hamlin's
contempt, and declining to impose additional remedial
sanctions on Hamlin. We affirm the judgment and the
[¶2] Hamlin and Cavagnaro were married in
1998 in Virginia and had three children together. In 2009,
Hamlin filed for divorce after moving to Maine with the
children. Following a contentious trial, the court (
Stitham, J. ) entered a judgment of divorce on
November 13, 2009, which, among other things, awarded Hamlin
primary residence of the children and provided Cavagnaro
eight weeks of visitation with the children per year
beginning in 2010.
[¶3] Subsequently, Cavagnaro filed a motion
to modify the divorce judgment and a motion for contempt. On
October 11, 2013, the court modified the order in a lengthy
judgment that detailed the chronic conflict between the
parties and its impact on the children. The court declined to
grant Cavagnaro primary residence but modified the order to
provide for shared residence of the children. The court also
imposed various requirements intended to increase
communication and cooperation between the parties, and did
not find Hamlin in contempt.
[¶4] Specifically, the court found that
since imposition of the original judgment, Hamlin had "
repeatedly refused to communicate and consult with
[Cavagnaro] in a constructive manner." The court also
found, however, that " the children would be just fine
residing with either parent" ; the oldest child, who is
" wise beyond her years," prefers to live with
Hamlin; and it is in the best interests of the younger
children to reside in the same household as the oldest child.
Ultimately, the court determined that it was still in the
best interests of the children for Hamlin to have primary
residence, but only if Hamlin " is able to change her
ways significantly such that she truly facilitates and
encourages [Cavagnaro] having a far richer and meaningful
relationship with each of these children." Thus, it
found that, at that time, it was in the best interests of the
children for the parents to share residence of the children;
the children would reside in Maine with Hamlin during the
school year and in Virginia with Cavagnaro during the
Christmas, February, April, and summer vacations.
[¶5] In February 2014, Cavagnaro again filed
a motion to modify the divorce judgment and a motion for
contempt in the District Court (Dover-Foxcroft). Before the
motions were heard, on May 29, 2014, Hamlin filed an email
that included a " request for change of venue,"
seeking to have the case transferred from the Dover-Foxcroft
court. Hamlin also indicated that she wished to be assigned a
different judge because the judge currently presiding over
the case was " biased" against her. After a brief
hearing during which the court heard arguments from both
parties, the court granted Hamlin's motion for a change
of venue in a written order and transferred the case to the
District Court in Bangor. The court's order does not
include an explanation of the basis for granting the motion