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Stilton v. Stilton

August 10, 2007

DEBRA R. LUCANTE STILTON, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DONALD ALLEN STILTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Ocean County, Docket No. FM-15-977-03 and FV-15-1569-03.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 5, 2007

Before Judges Payne and Lihotz.

These two appeals filed by defendant Donald Stilton were consolidated by our order dated January 20, 2007. Plaintiff Debra Lucante Stilton and defendant were divorced on June 15, 2005. Although the parties are the same in each Family Part matter, the cases are distinctly different, requiring separate discussion of the facts and issues.

A.

The first case concerns the parties' matrimonial matter. Defendant appeals from Judge Franklin's October 3, 2006 order, in which plaintiff was awarded $1,000 and released from further obligation regarding defendant's Naval memorabilia and M&M collection (collectively referred to as "the collections"). The final judgment of divorce (FJOD), which contained the parties negotiated terms of settlement on all collateral issues, awarded to defendant either the collections themselves or the proceeds of an insurance claim after the disappearance of the collections. It is clear from the pleadings that plaintiff believed defendant removed the collections, as the FJOD states: "If the insurance claim is denied because of a finding that the defendant was responsible for the break-in, then plaintiff shall owe defendant nothing on account of these issues." Defendant had been charged with theft of the collections, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Although defendant filed a timely notice of appeal and presents Judge Franklin's October 3, 2006 order, he offers no argument with respect to this matter in his merits brief. We consider only a party's legal arguments raised in his or her brief under appropriate point headings. R. 2:6-2(a)(5); see also Almog v. Israel Travel Advisory Service, Inc., 298 N.J. Super. 145, 155 (App. Div. 1997). Because the issue has not been briefed it is deemed abandoned. See Zavodnick v. Leven, 340 N.J. Super. 94, 103 (App. Div. 2001); see also Carter v. Carter, 318 N.J. Super. 34, 42 n. 8 (App. Div. 1999).

B.

The second case presents an appeal from the denial of defendant's request to vacate a final restraining order (FRO) issued on January 14, 2003, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to 35. In that hearing, the trial court heard each party's testimony in support of the respective complaints alleging domestic violence.

In support of her claims, plaintiff testified that defendant repeatedly called her at work, making threatening comments. Plaintiff, while alone in her office on a Sunday, had received between ten and twenty telephone calls from defendant. When at home, plaintiff asserted defendant was frequently angry and drank heavily. She expressed fear, as she believed defendant's anger was escalating. Plaintiff recited the threats defendant had made in telephone calls or in person, which include:

I haven't snapped yet. Oh you'll know when I snap . . . . . . . .

If you take one more thing out of the house, you're going to be sorry. I'll show you what I can do to you. You don't want to mess with me. ...


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