Alimony Arrearage Modification Denied By Court
- September 11, 2015
- No comments
In Herman v. Herman, the Defendant argued that because he was not provided with an accounting of the Plaintiff’s received alimony payments and how same were used to reduce the marital debt, his alimony payments should have been reduced and that the judge failed to order the Plaintiff to provide such an accounting. The parties were married in 1992 and the Plaintiff gave birth to a son in 1995. The parties divorced in 1999 pursuant to a final divorce judgment which incorporated a property settlement agreement (PSA). The agreement required that the Defendant pay permanent alimony of $527.90 a week to the Plaintiff with the amount decreasing thereafter upon the occasion of certain events, eventually becoming $268.00 a week. The PSA also directed that the Defendant would be fully responsible for the post-secondary educational expenses of the parties’ son. In addition, a separate article of the PSA specified that the Plaintiff would pay off existing credit card debts, which amounted to $36,100.00 and that $169.00 a week of the alimony that the Plaintiff received was “intended to be paid by [plaintiff] toward [defendant’s] credit card liabilities.” When the accounts were paid in full, the Defendant’s alimony obligations were to be reduced by $169.00 a week. The agreement also permitted either party to pay off the debt with their “own funds,” and receive either a deduction or credit of $169.00 per week toward the alimony amount. After their divorce, the parties engaged in Motion practice over disputes that inevitably arose from the agreement. In 2005, the Family Court issued an Order setting the Defendant’s alimony arrears and ordering that he continue to pay $268.00 a week in alimony. By 2007, the Plaintiff’s attorney calculated the Defendant’s total arrears to be $57,325.00. In 2008, after more Motion practice, the Defendant’s alimony, child support, and counsel fees were memorialized in a judgment in the amount of $76,606.00. In 2012, the Defendant filed a Motion seeking a downward modification of his child support and the termination of his alimony due to the Plaintiff’s remarriage and an adjustment of his support obligations retroactively based upon his overpayment toward marital debts. The judge terminated the Defendant’s alimony obligation based upon the Plaintiff’s remarriage but denied his request for a retroactive adjustment. In 2012, the Defendant’s total arrears had risen to $111,735.86. In 2013, the Defendant submitted yet another Motion for a retroactive reduction in his alimony in the amount of $169.00 a week dating back to 2004. The judge issued an Order denying the Motion. In 2013, the judge granted the Plaintiff’s request to compel the Defendant t pay for their son’s college expenses. In 2014, the Defendant again moved for an Order compelling the Plaintiff to account for her payments of all martial debut under the provisions of the PSA and for a reduction in his support arrears. The Judge denied the Defendant’s request for an accounting and denied his request for a reduction in his arrears, but granted the Plaintiff’s request for Defendant to pay college expenses. The Defendant appealed. The Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the Family Court. According to the Appellate Division none of the Defendant’s arguments had sufficient merit to warrant a discussion pursuant to N.J. Court Rule 2:1-3(e)(1)(E). The court found that the Defendant sought an adjustment of his alimony arrears in 2012, which was denied. He never appealed that decision he simply submitted another Motion seeking the same relief in 2013 and 2014. In addition, the Order that was under review enforced the Defendant’s obligations to pay college expenses which was ordered by the Family Court in 2013, from which the Defendant failed to appeal. When the Defendant continued to submit Motions for other relief, the Plaintiff cross-moved to enforce the 2013 Order. The Defendant then raised belated challenges to that Order and the Court has the right to refuse to consider his request. Gac v. Gac, 186 N.J. 535, 546-47, 897 A.2d 1018 (2006). Being that the laws governing alimony have recently been changed, it is very important that you seek out the advice of an attorney to protect your rights an entitlements. If you think that it may be beneficial for you to petition the court for a post-judgment modification of your alimony or for any other reason it is imperative that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about alimony, divorce, post-judgment modification, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit the DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice of an attorney.