December 30, 2008
DIANNA VALIANTE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
CHRISTOPHER VALIANTE, SR., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, Docket No. FM-02-2699-01.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 8, 2008
Before Judges Carchman and Simonelli.
In this matrimonial matter, defendant Christopher Valiante, Sr. was found in violation of litigant's right for failing to comply with provisions of a property settlement agreement (PSA) requiring him to maintain two life insurance policies. One policy was to insure defendant's alimony obligation, and the other was to insure that portion of defendant's pension to which plaintiff Dianna Valiante was entitled. Judge Koblitz ordered defendant, among other things, to comply with the PSA provisions, to designate plaintiff Dianna Valiante as owner and beneficiary of the policies, and to pay $1000 for plaintiff's counsel fees.
On appeal, defendant contends that the judge erred by: (1) denying him the right to name his estate as beneficiary under the policy insuring his alimony obligation; (2) ordering him to obtain a policy in excess of $200,000 to insure plaintiff's pension entitlement; (3) ordering him to maintain a policy to secure alimony payments beyond his death; and (4) awarding plaintiff counsel fees.
Each of these contentions is without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).*fn1
However, we add the following comments.
The PSA required defendant to pay permanent alimony until he or plaintiff dies, or until plaintiff's cohabitation with another male in an economically dependent relationship. The PSA also required defendant to pay plaintiff one-half of that portion of his pension accumulated during the marriage. The parties subsequently agreed that plaintiff's pension entitlement was $282,340.23.
To insure defendant's alimony obligation beyond his death, the PSA required him to maintain a life insurance policy in the amount of $200,000. This is legally valid. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-25; Jacobitti v. Jacobitti, 135 N.J. 571, 578 (1994); Davis v. Davis, 184 N.J. Super. 430, 438-39 (App. Div. 1982).
The PSA also required defendant to obtain "sufficient insurance to ensure [plaintiff's] pension entitlement[.]" That amount is $282,340.23, not $200,000. The PSA also provides that plaintiff is the owner and beneficiary of both policies.
And finally, we discern no abuse of discretion in the award of counsel fees. Williams v. Williams, 59 N.J. 229, 233 (1971). The provisions of the PSA were crystal clear; defendant's attempt to avoid his obligations under those provisions was without merit.