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Vibert v. Dimoulas

Supreme Court of Maine

April 4, 2017

HEIDI VIBERT
v.
ANTONIOS N. DIMOULAS

          On Briefs: January 19, 2017

          Dennis R. Hamrick, Esq., Bangor, for appellant Antonios N. Dimoulas.

          Daniel A. Pileggi, Esq., Acadia Law Group, LLC, Ellsworth, for appellee Heidi Vibert.

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         [¶1] Heidi Vibert and Antonios N. Dimoulas never married but had been in a long-term, high-conflict relationship. They are the parents of two minor children. Dimoulas appeals from a judgment of the District Court (Bangor, Jordan, J.) awarding sole parental rights and responsibilities and primary residence of the children to Vibert, while granting Dimoulas supervised contact conditioned on his submission to a psychological evaluation and the results thereof. We affirm the judgment.

         I. CASE HISTORY

         [¶2] The trial court made detailed findings addressing all issues in this parental rights matter. Those findings are supported by the evidentiary record. The following facts are derived from the trial court record, which must be viewed in the light most favorable to the trial courts judgment. See Sloan v. Christianson, 2012 ME 72, ¶ 2, 43 A.3d 978.

         [¶3] In October 2014, after Dimoulas had become increasingly irrational and unpredictable, resulting in numerous contacts with law enforcement, Vibert hid the childrens clothing in plastic bags behind their home so that she and the children could leave without alerting Dimoulas.[1] Vibert fled with the children to New Hampshire, where she had family support.

         [¶4] In January 2015, Vibert filed a complaint in Maine seeking a determination of parental rights and responsibilities. See 19-A M.R.S. § 1653(2) (2016). Two months later, the court appointed a guardian ad litem. On August 27, 2015, the court (Campbell, J.) held a hearing in response to Viberts emergency motion for interim relief. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court orally stated its order on the record, granting shared parental rights and responsibilities to the parties and awarding primary residence of the children to Vibert. The court awarded Dimoulas unsupervised contact on alternating weekends, and because the children were visiting Dimoulas immediately after the hearing, the court specifically directed Dimoulas to return the children to their mother on September 2, 2015. The written version of the courts order was entered on September 3, 2015.

         [¶5] On September 2, in direct violation of the interim order, Dimoulas refused to return the children to Vibert. Two days later, Vibert, accompanied by law enforcement, retrieved the children from Dimoulas. Although he was in violation of the courts order by refusing to return the children, Dimoulas testified that the police "raided" his home and that he called 9-1-1 several times while the police were still at his home to report that the police were "kidnapping" his children.

         [¶6] A few days later, Dimoulas drove to New Hampshire unannounced and took his son out of school. Dimoulas attempted to take his daughter from her school as well, but school officials refused to release her. Dimoulas brought his son back to Maine and enrolled him in school.[2] He kept his son for several days without notifying Vibert of his whereabouts. At the time, Dimoulas was subject to a protection from harassment order in New Hampshire, and his conduct led to criminal charges in New Hampshire. Dimoulass attorney in the New Hampshire criminal action requested a court-ordered psychological exam.

         [¶7] The parties proceeded to a final hearing in the parental rights action on April 28, 2016. The court (Jordan, J.) relied on the guardian ad litems reports and testimony from the interim hearing and heard testimony from Vibert, Dimoulas, and Dimoulass children from a previous marriage.

         [¶8] The court found that Dimoulass demeanor on the stand was "somewhat unsettling, " that his account of events was disconnected from what the objective information demonstrated, and that Dimoulas "ha[d] shown a disturbing pattern of relating reality as he interprets it, " including his description of a wonderful relationship with Vibert and his expressed belief that the interim hearing was a ...


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