On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, FM-16-623-00.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 28, 2007
Before Judges Lefelt and Sapp-Peterson.
Defendant Salah Elkaryoney appeals from the trial judge's order denying his motion to reduce child support which he filed following the death of one of his three minor children. We reverse.
The parties were married on April 4, 1992. Three children were born of the marriage: Islam, born June 17, 1993; Ameer, born March 29, 1995; and Kareem, born May 22, 1996. The parties divorced on March 21, 2001, but there have been a number of post-judgment matters before the court. On November 18, 2005, defendant, pro se, filed a motion to decrease child support. On January 13, 2006, the court conducted a hearing on the motion and reduced defendant's monthly child support obligation from $600 to $535. The court arrived at this figure based upon "$425, gross per week of the defendant, which is halfway between what [defendant] said he was making at 400 and 450." Defendant attempted to explain to the court that the $400 to $450 was a gross amount based upon his self-employed status:
[DEFENDANT]: My adjusted gross income would come up . . . [to] $250 a week --
[DEFENDANT]: -- not 450 a week.
THE COURT: -- how about your net income is 346 after taxes, how do you like that?
THE COURT: 346 after taxes, right here.
[DEFENDANT]: 346, the adjusted gross income?
The court reiterated that defendant's child support obligation would be fixed at $537 per month and did not, as defendant attempted to urge, take into consideration operating expenses defendant incurred as a self-employed taxi driver, including gas, oil, repairs, license, and the taxi medallion rental fee. Defendant claims the taxi medallion expense represents his largest operating cost. In addition, although the court indicated the order would be retroactive to November ...