On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, FM-14-109-05.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Lisa, Reisner and Sapp-Peterson.
Defendant Donald Chopoorian appeals from two orders entered by the Family Part on December 7, 2007, denying his post-judgment motion to reduce his alimony and child support obligations and awarding counsel fees to plaintiff Lori Chopoorian. We affirm.
The parties were married on October 18, 1986. At the time of their 2005 divorce, the couple had two minor children. The August 16, 2005 final judgment of divorce incorporated their property settlement agreement (PSA).
There is no dispute that during the marriage, Donald operated a highly successful advertising business known as The Perfect Impression (TPI), which provided him with an annual income of over $900,000 in 2003. The parties also owned several valuable pieces of real estate.
The PSA provided for child support in the amount of $2083 per month, or $50,000 annually. Donald was also required to maintain a $500,000 life insurance policy for the children's benefit, and to maintain accounts for their secondary education. Donald further agreed to pay Lori $7,812.50 per month, or $187,500 per year, in permanent alimony. Significantly, with regard to future modifications to Donald's alimony payments, the PSA provided:
Husband's earned income as defined herein may increase to $650,000 gross per year (before taxes) before Wife is entitled to file a Motion to modify/increase alimony based on an increase in Husband's earned income. Husband's earned income must decline to $400,000 gross per year (before taxes) or below before he is entitled to file a Motion to modify/decrease alimony based on a decrease in earned income.
Wife's earned income may be $50,000 gross per year (before taxes) before Husband is entitled to file a Motion to modify/decrease alimony based on Wife's earned income. [(Emphasis added).]
Under the equitable distribution clause of the agreement, Donald was permitted to keep his "100% ownership interest in TPI." However, "[a]s consideration for Wife's waiver of all right, title and interest in TPI, [Donald] shall pay directly to [Lori] the sum of $1,300,000." These payments were to be made over the course of several years.
The PSA also distributed the parties' real property: a commercial building at 999 Tabor Road in Morris Plains (TPI), a rental property at 506 Main Street in Boonton, and a residence at 4 Audubon Trail in Boonton. The PSA awarded Donald the commercial and rental properties, and Lori the residence.
On December 28, 2006, Lori filed a motion in aid of litigants' rights, contending that as of October 15, 2006, which was slightly more than a year after the divorce, defendant had stopped making any payments of alimony or equitable distribution. In response, Donald filed a cross-motion seeking a temporary suspension of his obligations to pay alimony and equitable distribution, and a decrease in his child support obligation from $791 a month to $183 per month. In support of his application, Donald claimed that TPI had suffered a drastic downturn in ...