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Morris v. Morris

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


October 3, 2007

STANLEY MORRIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARY MORRIS, DEFENDANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County, FM-13-1641-93.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 24, 2007

Before Judges Lintner and Sabatino.

Gavin Villapiano appeals, pro se, from a May 12, 2006, Family Part order requiring him to pay $9480, the sum charged by the guardian ad litem appointed by the court in an action brought by Mary Morris against her former husband, Stanley Morris, to obtain custody of their son, Sean. In that action, Villapiano, Mary's brother, submitted, with Mary's consent, a certification indicating that he was willing to care for Sean in his home. At the time, the Morris's older and emancipated son, Luke, was residing in Villapiano's house. On January 4, 2006, after receiving the guardian ad litem's report, the judge entered an order giving Villapiano temporary custody of Sean.

In this appeal, filed on June 27, 2006, Villapiano contends that it was error for the judge to order him to pay the guardian ad litem's fee because he is not a party to the action brought by Mary. He argues that the obligation to pay the guardian ad litem is Mary's, as she is the party who brought the action. On September 7, 2007, the guardian ad litem notified us by letter that her bill "has been paid in its entirety" by Mary, and she has filed a Warrant of Satisfaction, thus relieving Villapiano of any further obligation under the order.

There is no question that the Family Part order requiring Villapiano to pay the guardian ad litem fee is rendered moot by Mary's payment. Issues that have been rendered moot by subsequent developments render legal issues abstract and outside the proper realm of courts. Zirger v. Gen. Accident Ins. Co., 144 N.J. 327, 330 (1996); Oxfeld v. N.J. State Bd. of Educ., 68 N.J. 301, 303-04 (1975); Sente v. Mayor & Mun. Council of Clifton, 66 N.J. 204, 205 (1974). As we stated in City of Camden v. Whitman, 325 N.J. Super. 236, 243 (App. Div. 1999), "courts of this State do not resolve issues that have become moot due to the passage of time or intervening events."

Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal.

20071003

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