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Hernandez v. Hernandez

July 22, 2008

CAROL HERNANDEZ, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
RONALD HERNANDEZ, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FM-12-586-01.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 2, 2008

Before Judges Wefing, R. B. Coleman and Lyons.

Plaintiff ex-wife appeals numerous provisions of three post-judgment matrimonial orders, asserting that the trial judge did not address some issues and erred with respect to others.

After reviewing plaintiff's contentions, the record, defendant ex-husband's arguments, and the applicable law, we affirm.

The relevant facts and procedural history are as follows. The parties were married in 1977 and had two children, J.H., born August 23, 1981, and S.H., born May 14, 1988. In March 2003, a final restraining order was entered barring defendant from the marital home.

The trial judge conducted a divorce trial on November 12, 2003. The parties were divorced pursuant to a final judgment dated February 20, 2004, which was entered following a December 18, 2003, written opinion.

In the final judgment of divorce, the trial judge emancipated J.H. and granted joint legal custody of S.H., with primary residential custody to plaintiff. The trial judge ordered defendant to pay child support of $152 per week, and ordered him to be responsible for 54.11% of S.H.'s unreimbursed medical expenses, after the first $250 had been paid by plaintiff. Plaintiff, who had been a homemaker, was granted alimony of $165 per week.

The trial judge allocated the debts and obligations of the parties, and divided the home, the pension, the household items, and the parties' savings accounts equally between the parties. Defendant was ordered to comply with previous orders requiring defendant to reimburse plaintiff for insurance, one half of a homestead rebate, and mortgage payments. Defendant was also ordered to distribute half of a savings account to plaintiff.

The trial judge valued the marital residence and gave plaintiff thirty days from the date of the judgment to exercise her right to buy it. Plaintiff was allowed to use her share of equity in defendant's pensions and annuities as a credit to purchase the home. The judgment gave defendant the opportunity to purchase the home if plaintiff declined to do so. The trial judge ordered defendant to pay half of the mortgage and real estate taxes until the transfer to plaintiff was completed or the house sold to a third party.

The trial judge further ordered that the plaintiff's pension annuity be valuated for the time period from the date of the parties' marriage to the date of the filing of the complaint and distributed by means of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

Plaintiff appealed from portions of the final judgment of divorce. We affirmed the trial judge's order in an opinion dated January 21, 2005. Hernandez v. Hernandez, No. A-4163-03T2 (App. Div. Jan. 21, 2005).

In March 2005, defendant filed a motion to enforce litigant's rights and for other relief. The main thrust of his motion was to permit defendant to purchase plaintiff's interest in the former marital home, as plaintiff still had not purchased the home. Plaintiff opposed the motion. Defendant filed a reply certification, and plaintiff then filed a motion to oppose defendant's attorney-fee request.

After oral argument on April 29, 2005, the trial judge signed an order of the same date. Among other things, the trial judge revoked either party's right to buy the marital home and ordered that it be listed for sale immediately. The trial judge ordered that a QDRO be prepared for the purpose of rolling over plaintiff's interest in defendant's pensions and annuities, but that the disbursal of that sum be deferred until thirty days after the closing on the house, in order to determine what credits defendant might be entitled to, if any. The trial judge also made numerous other specific rulings.

On May 19, 2005, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration. The trial judge placed her rulings on the record and signed an order dated June 24, 2005, denying plaintiff's relief.

On July 5, 2005, the trial judge signed a consent order transferring residential custody of S.H. to defendant, and terminating defendant's child support obligation.

On July 9, 2005, plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal from the orders of April 29 and June 24, 2005. She requested a stay pending appeal, but that was denied.

In August 2005, plaintiff filed a motion to enforce litigant's rights, seeking numerous items of relief. Without oral argument, the trial judge put her reasons for her decision on the record on September 23, 2005, and signed an order that same day.

On October 7, 2005, plaintiff moved to amend her appeal to include the order of September 23, 2005. Her request was granted, despite defendant's opposition.

On October 14, 2005, plaintiff filed a bankruptcy petition. We were informed at oral argument that, since the filing of this appeal, the marital home had been sold and that the parties' son, S.H., has joined the Air Force.

On appeal, plaintiff presents a myriad of issues for our consideration:

POINT I

PLAINTIFF IS NOT IN THE SAME STANDARD OF LIVING AS DURING THE MARRIAGE (plaintiff's brief point A).

POINT II

THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT EQUITABLY DISTRIBUTE THE MARITAL PROPERTY (plaintiff's brief point B).

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ADDRESS DIRECT REIMBURSEMENT OF MEDICAL PAYMENT TO PLAINTIFF FROM UNION (plaintiff's brief point C).

POINT IV

THE TRIAL COURT DENIED PLAINTIFF RETURN OF HER POSSESSIONS (plaintiff's brief point D).

POINT V

THE TRIAL COURT DENIED PLAINTIFF DIRECT DEPOSIT OF ALIMONY PAYMENTS (plaintiff's brief point E).

POINT VI

THE TRIAL COURT DENIED COUNSELING FOR DEFENDANT AND CHILDREN (plaintiff's brief point F).

POINT VII

THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ADDRESS COLLEGE EXPENSES FOR S.H. AND DENIED COLLEGE EXPENSES FOR J.H. (plaintiff's brief point G).

POINT VIII

THE TRIAL COURT DENIED PLAINTIFF A VEHICLE (plaintiff's brief point H).

POINT IX

THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ADDRESS REIMBURSEMENT TO PLAINTIFF'S BROTHER (plaintiff's brief point I).

POINT X

THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ADDRESS DEFENDANT NOT OBTAINING LIFE INSURANCE FOR HIS SON AS PER THE FINAL JUDGMENT (plaintiff's brief point J).

POINT XI

TRIAL COURT JUDGE ERRED IN DEFERRING QDROS (plaintiff's ...


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