On appeal from the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, Camden County.
Dreier and Ashbey. The opinion of the court was delivered by Ashbey, J.A.D.
Defendant Lynn Zazzo appeals from parts of a Family Part order which decreased the child support obligations of plaintiff Lawrence Zazzo from $750 to $375 per month for seven months of the year while one of his sons was attending college. He did not submit a current Case Information Statement (CIS) with his motion. The judge ruled that the moving party seeking a decrease in child support need not provide up-to-date financial disclosure where the moving party's prima facie case asserted a decrease in the custodial parent's need for child support. See R. 5:5-4. He further ruled that Lawrence had demonstrated a change in circumstances, although the decrease was clearly contrary to the terms of a property settlement agreement. Finally, the judge reduced support without findings of fact concerning the custodial parent's present needs or her present ability to pay for the remaining needs of the parties' two children. See R. 5:6A.*fn1
Lynn and Lawrence Zazzo were married on August 30, 1969. Their two sons were born December 15, 1970 and July 9, 1972, respectively. Their April 26, 1985 agreement provided that:
1. The Husband shall pay to the Wife for the support of the two minor children of the marriage the sum of $1,500.00 per month allocated at $750.00 for
each of the two children per month. This amount is to be paid directly to the Wife in two equal payments of $750.00 due on the 1st and 15th of each month.
2. The Husband's obligation for child support shall continue until each child is emancipated. The term "emancipation" shall be defined for the purposes of this Agreement as follows:
A. The completion of the child's formal education on a matriculated basis, whether it be graduation from a four year undergraduate school or high-school, it being understood that so long as the child is diligently pursuing his or her formal education and obtaining passing grades, the child shall not be considered emancipated.
B. Upon the completion of any of the aforesaid segments of the child's education, and upon failure to commence the next segment of his or her education, or upon leaving school, the child shall be deemed emancipated unless failure to continue on with his or her education has resulted from illness or injury or some other cause beyond the child's control.
C. The marriage of the child.
D. Entry into the military or armed forces of the child.
In April 1985, almost simultaneously with the divorce, Lawrence had relinquished his interest in approximately $60,000 from his uncle's estate to his parents. His father made financial provisions for the two grandchildren's education, including covering the balance due after loans and scholarships for the eldest child's first year at Yale University. The judge considered this outside provision for college tuition and board to be a change in circumstances.
As noted, Lawrence refused to provide current income information with his motion. Lawrence's 1984 tax return showed that his gross income was $65,944.00. Lynn's 1985 CIS showed a 1984 income of $6,569.00. Lynn's gross income in 1988 was $24,138.00. Lynn's 1989 CIS gave her current net ...