On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Ocean County, Docket No. FM-15-1265-05.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Winkelstein, Yannotti and LeWinn.
Kristin Ruocchio (plaintiff) and James Ruocchio (defendant) were married on April 6, 2002. Plaintiff filed her complaint for divorce not quite three years later, on March 14, 2005.
They have two children, one born December 17, 2003, and the other, born one month after plaintiff filed her divorce complaint, on April 20, 2005. Following a six-day trial, between September 5 and December 1, 2006, Judge Sheldon R. Franklin rendered a decision from the bench and entered a final judgment of divorce on February 28, 2007.
Defendant appeals, raising the following issues for our consideration:
I. THE STANDARD OF REVIEW IN THE INSTANT MATTER IS WHETHER THE COURT ABUSED, OR MISTAKENLY EXERCISED, ITS DISCRETION RESULTING IN A MANIFEST INJUSTICE
II. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN AWARDING REHABILITATIVE ALIMONY TO THE WIFE WHO HAD A COLLEGE DEGREE AND WHO COULD RETURN TO HER PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT AS A SPECIAL ED TEACHER AFTER HER MATERNITY LEAVE
III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT IMPUTED INCOME TO DEFENDANT, FAILED TO IMPUTE [AN] APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF INCOME TO PLAINTIFF, AND FAILED TO REFLECT CREDIT FOR DEFENDANT'S PRIOR CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION IN CALCULATING THE GUIDELINES
IV. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY DIVIDING THE PROCEEDS OF SALE OF THE MARITAL HOME EQUALLY AND WITHOUT AWARDING THE DEFENDANT ANY CREDIT FOR THE SUBSTANTIAL DOWNPAYMENT EVEN THOUGH THE HOUSE WAS PURCHASED BEFORE THE PARTIES WERE ENGAGED AND NOT IN CONTEMPLATION OF MARRIAGE
V. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY EQUALLY DIVIDING THE WACHOVIA BROKERAGE ACCOUNT CONTRARY TO DEFENDANT'S TESTIMONY AND EVEN THOUGH PLAINTIFF ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE ACCOUNT CONSISTED, AT LEAST PARTIALLY, OF PRE-MARITAL FUNDS
VI. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY REQUIRING DEFENDANT TO CONTRIBUTE $20,000.00 TOWARDS PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL FEES IN ADDITION TO THE FEES HE HAD PREVIOUSLY PAID
Having reviewed the entire record, we conclude that the judgment should be affirmed in all respects, for the reasons set forth in the bench decision rendered by Judge Franklin on February 28, 2007. Each of the issues challenged on appeal received thorough analysis and consideration by the ...