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Entress v. Entress

June 10, 2008


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Atlantic County, Docket No. FM-01-898-02.

Per curiam.


Argued April 30, 2008

Before Judges Cuff, Lisa and Lihotz.

We again are asked to review post-judgment Family Part orders in this longstanding matrimonial dispute. Although plaintiff Dolores Entress Triboletti states in her notice that she appeals from the court's orders dated March 2005, April 2005, October 29, 2005, March 10, 2006, September 6, 2006, and February 2, 2007, our order dated April 19, 2007, allowed plaintiff's motion to serve as a notice of appeal only of the February 2, 2007 order. Thus, our review is limited. However, to the extent prior orders provide context to the subject matter of the February 2, 2007 order, they may be discussed.*fn1

Generally, on appeal, plaintiff seeks reversal of the February 7, 2007 order imposing restrictions on her contact with the parties' two minor children, who are in the custody of defendant Kevin Entress. Also, she challenges the court's discretion to order her to pay sanctions and attorney's fees as a result of her lapse in maintaining child support. After our consideration of plaintiff's arguments and the submissions of both parties in light of the record and applicable law, we discern no error in the motion judge's findings of fact and conclusions drawn therefrom. Nor do we determine the judge misapplied his discretion. Therefore, we affirm.

We recite those facts necessary for disposition of this matter. After an eleven year marriage, the parties were divorced on June 16, 2003. Their two sons are now ages fourteen and ten. The terms of the parties' property settlement agreement (PSA), incorporated into the Final Judgment of Divorce, designated plaintiff as the parent of primary residence of the children and delineated defendant's parenting time schedule.

"An escalating dispute between the parties regarding custody and visitation culminat[ed] in the April 8, 2004 order summarily changing custody from plaintiff to defendant." Entress v. Entress, 376 N.J. Super. 125 (App. Div. 2005). We reversed that order and the four others that preceded it and required a different Family Part judge to conduct a plenary hearing to determine custody. Id. at 128.

On remand, in April 2005, a different judge denied plaintiff's motion for resumption of residential custody. On our leave granted, we reviewed the interlocutory appeal and summarily reversed the two custody orders entered. We again instructed the family judge to schedule a plenary hearing.

The plenary hearing commenced on September 28, 2005, with the testimony of Ronald Gruen, Ed.D., the court appointed forensic custody expert. At the close of Dr. Gruen's testimony, the parties ceased presentation of trial testimony and, aided by their respective counsel, prepared a comprehensive settlement agreement resolving custody and visitation. The agreement was bottomed on Dr. Gruen's findings and recommendations and its terms are recited in the consent order dated September 29, 2005.

The parties' agreement retained defendant as the parent of primary residence and allowed plaintiff supervised visitation, which upon satisfaction of designated conditions would transition to unsupervised visitation. Plaintiff could attend the children's school and sporting events, send email communications, and have daily telephone contact. Further, the order provided for the appointment of a family therapist/parenting coordinator and a therapist for plaintiff to address her personality disorder. These two professionals would communicate in an effort to aid plaintiff's understanding of the harm caused to the children by her actions and to assist the parties in reducing their mutual hostilities and to learn to work together.

On that same date, the court entered a temporary child support order requiring plaintiff to pay $500 per week. The order was entered without prejudice as plaintiff had not filed a case information statement or submitted proof of her income and debts. The order allocated payment of the family therapist fees between the parties and provided plaintiff would satisfy the cost of her individual psychotherapy.

On December 27, 2005, a plenary hearing commenced to determine plaintiff's ability to pay child support. At the close of evidence, the court imputed annual income to plaintiff of $75,000, based on her past earnings and her lifestyle evidenced by her annual spending and various exhibits. The court fixed plaintiff's child support obligation at $272 per week. The court also calculated defendant's alimony obligation was $906 per week.*fn2

Thereafter, plaintiff attended a psychological evaluation, which recommended she commence unsupervised visitation. Dr. McInerney, the court appointed family therapist who had supervised four visits between plaintiff and the children, was more cautious but supported ...

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