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Nardi v. Nardi

July 7, 2008


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cumberland County, Docket No. FM-06-424-05.

Per curiam.


Argued June 3, 2008

Before Judges Winkelstein and Yannotti.

Defendant Jean L. Nardi appeals from an order entered by the Family Part on August 24, 2007, which denied defendant's motions for post-judgment relief, and granted a cross-motion for relief by plaintiff Anthony Nardi. We affirm.


The parties were married on April 19, 1980. Three children were born of the marriage, J.N., C.N. and A.N. On February 15, 2005, plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce. A final judgment of divorce was entered by the court on August 2, 2005, which incorporated a property settlement agreement (PSA) between the parties that had been executed on July 5, 2005. The PSA noted that J.N. and C.N. were emancipated. The PSA provided that, although plaintiff was designated the parent of primary residence for A.N., plaintiff would pay defendant $100 every other week as child support.

According to the PSA, the agreed-upon amount of child support "takes into account [plaintiff's] present income of approximately $70,000 per year and [defendant's] estimated imputed income of $25,000 per year." The PSA further provided that the parties could revisit the issue of child support after two years. In addition, the PSA stated that the parties agreed "to share equally in the costs and expenses associated with the further education of [A.N.] after all grants, scholarships or loans are taken."

The PSA additionally provided that the parties waived "their respective rights to alimony and support of any nature, in consideration of these stipulations and lump sum alimony being paid." The PSA stated in pertinent part that:

[t]his waiver is for any and all past, present or future support, regardless of a change in circumstances. This waiver of rights by both parties shall continue until the time of death, regardless of any change in circumstances, including but not limited to any sickness or inability on the part of either to be employed or maintain themselves. Both parties acknowledge that they have been advised of the case of Lepis v. Lepis [83 N.J. 139 (1980)] and understand that they are waiving their rights pursuant to that case and the laws and decisions of the State of New Jersey to seek alimony or any other form of support or of maintenance at any time in the future from the other party and hereby waive the right to the same for the past and present.

The agreement stated that plaintiff shall pay defendant $36,000 "as lump sum alimony and also in consideration of [defendant's] waiver of lump sum alimony, [plaintiff] shall transfer $14,000 from his individual IRA account . . . to [defendant]."

The PSA also indicated that defendant waived her right, title and interest in the former marital residence, and plaintiff would pay defendant $110,000 for her interest in the property. The bank accounts in the names of either party remained "the sole and exclusive property of that party." Plaintiff waived his right, title and interest in defendant's motor vehicle. Plaintiff agreed to be responsible to continue medical insurance coverage for defendant for thirty-six months. Provision also was made for a division of the parties' interests in certain retirement benefits. In addition, plaintiff waived any interest in defendant's business.

On July 25, 2007, defendant filed a motion seeking an order: 1) amending the parenting plan for A.N. and increasing the child support payments from plaintiff to defendant; 2) reopening the final judgment of divorce; 3) awarding plaintiff alimony; 4) re-apportioning the parties' respective contributions to A.N.'s college costs; 5) awarding defendant attorney's fees and costs; and 6) granting defendant such other relief as the court may deem just and equitable.

Plaintiff opposed defendant's motion and filed a cross-motion seeking an order: 1) denying defendant's motion; 2) enforcing the final judgment and PSA "as it exists;" 3) terminating child support; 4) awarding plaintiff counsel fees and costs; and 5) granting plaintiff such other relief as the court deems just and equitable.

The judge heard the motions on August 24, 2007. The judge entered an order on that date that denied defendant's motion to amend the parenting plan for A.N. and require plaintiff to pay additional child support for A.N. The judge denied defendant's request to re-open the final judgment, finding that defendant had not met her burden for such relief under Rule 4:50-1. In addition, the court denied defendant's motion for an award of alimony, her request to re-apportion the parties' respective shares of A.N.'s college costs, and her motion for an award of attorneys' fees and costs. The court granted plaintiff's cross-motion to enforce the final judgment and PSA; ...

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