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Stinga v. Stinga

October 18, 2007


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, Docket No. FM-16-1071-98.

Per curiam.


Submitted October 2, 2007

Before Judges Grall and Chambers.

In this post-divorce application, defendant, Enrique Stinga, appeals from the portions of the order entered on August 9, 2006, that retroactively increased his child support obligation, required him to contribute to the cost of a car for his son, and directed him to provide an accounting of the liquidated marital stock options and place the proceeds into a joint bank account. Since the order in question and the record below indicate that the payments in the order are "subject to proofs and accounting," no final decision has been made. Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed as interlocutory.

The parties were married on June 28, 1969, and have three children: Michelle, born in 1975; Brian, born in 1980; and Patrick, born in 1988. They were divorced on January 18, 2000, and their property settlement agreement, dated October 19, 1999, was incorporated into the Judgment of Divorce.

In May 2006, defendant moved for a declaration that Brian was emancipated as of January 1, 2003, for termination of his support obligation regarding Brian, and for a modification of his child support obligation for the remaining child. (The oldest child had already been emancipated.) Further, defendant sought a refund of $4,426.42, representing his overpayment of child support for Brian.

Plaintiff filed a cross motion requesting an accounting of the marital stock options, liquidation of the remaining stock options, and fifty percent of the proceeds from the stock options. The cross motion also sought financial information from defendant and a recalculation of his child support for the remaining unemancipated child, Patrick.

Oral argument before the trial court was held on June 23, 2006. The court determined that further information needed to be provided, and the matter was rescheduled. Mistakenly, an order was entered that day purportedly deciding the motions. That order was vacated on August 2, 2006, and the matter was heard again on August 9, 2006.

The record indicates that on August 9, 2006, the attorneys and the judge conferred extensively in chambers, analyzing the financial information and calculating the various adjustments in payments between the parties. The matter was then discussed on the record. At the end of that hearing on the record, the court entered an order dated August 9, 2006, declaring that Brian had become emancipated on January 1, 2003, providing defendant with a retroactive modification of support, and giving defendant a credit, in the amount of $3,932, for the support he had paid on behalf of Brian after the emancipation. The order also increased the child support for the unemancipated child, Patrick, to $287 per week, retroactively from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2005, and, after that date, set the support award at $264 per week. With respect to the child support payments for Patrick, the order expressly stated, however, that these amounts "are without prejudice and subject to proofs and accounting to be produced by defendant's attorney within 90 days unless [an] extension [is] necessary."

The order also required defendant to pay plaintiff the sum of $7,364, which apparently, he undisputedly owed her from some other obligation. The order further provided that plaintiff owed defendant the sum of $2,707 for tuition reimbursement. However, with respect to this tuition reimbursement, the order stated that "[t]his sum must be confirmed by way of accounting within 90 days unless extension is necessary. This amount is awarded without prejudice . . . ."

The order went on to require defendant to provide an accounting of the marital stock options exercised since the property settlement agreement was reached, and the order made provision for a joint checking account for monies from any liquidated stock options. Finally, the order required the parties together to set aside $10,000 for the purchase of a car for Patrick, which the record indicated he needed in order to commute to college.

Defendant raises the following issues on appeal:

POINT I The Appellate Court should stay the August 9, 2006 order ...

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