Motion For Alimony Reconsideration Not A Matter Of Right
- August 3, 2015
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In Ackerman v. Freitag, the Plaintiff appealed from a Court Order issued in 2014 that denied her unopposed Motion for reconsideration regarding her request for an award of alimony based upon changed circumstances and an increase in child support. The Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the Family Court in holding that a Motion for reconsideration is not a matter of right. The parties in this case divorced in 1999. At that time, they executed a property settlement agreement (PSA) that included a waiver of “any and all rights for alimony which either may have against the other, now and in the future.” In 2012, the Plaintiff’s license to practice medicine was suspended and she could no longer work in her field. She filed numerous Motions seeking relief based upon this life event and the negative financial impact that it had on her life. All requests for relief were denied. The judge based his denial on the fact that the medical board had concerns regarding the Plaintiff’s mental health and required her to submit reports from mental health professionals attesting to her ability to continue to work. The Plaintiff failed to submit any documentation. Due to this, the judge ruled that the Plaintiff was voluntarily unemployed and denied her requests for relief. The Plaintiff then filed two subsequent Motions for reconsideration, both of which were denied for the same reasons. The Plaintiff appealed. According to the Appellate Division, the Orders that the Plaintiff appealed from sought reconsideration of prior Orders entered by the court. A Motion for reconsideration is governed by Court Rule 4:49-2 and is a matter to be exercised in the trial court’s discretion. Capital Fin. Co. of Del. Valley, Inc. v. Asterbadi, 398 N.J. Super. 299, 310 (App Div.) certif. denied, 195 N.J. 521 (2008). It is not appropriate merely because a litigant is not happy with a decision of the court that he or she should be able to reargue a Motion, instead such relief “should be utilized only for those cases which fall into that narrow corridor in which either 1) the Court has expressed its decision based upon a palpably incorrect or irrational basis, or 2) it is obvious that the Court either did not consider, or failed to appreciate the significance of probative, competent evidence.” D’Atria v. D’Atria, 242 N.J. Super. 392, 401 (Ch. Div. 1990). The Appellate Division found that the Family Court judge provided thoughtful consideration to the Plaintiff’s Motions and properly denied them. 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 child support obligation 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.