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Anderson v. Anderson


April 15, 2009


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Somerset County, FM-18-631-04.

Per curiam.



Submitted March 30, 2009

Before Judges Reisner and Sapp-Peterson.

In this post-judgment matrimonial action, defendant John F. Anderson appeals from an order of the Family Part dated June 13, 2008, requiring him to reimburse plaintiff Patricia Anderson $4,634.21 for certain medical insurance costs and medical expenses incurred for their daughter. The June 13 order corrected a scrivener's error in an earlier order, filed May 27, 2008; the latter order was supported by a May 23, 2008 statement of reasons from Judge Dilts. We affirm.

In connection with their divorce, the parties entered into a property settlement agreement (PSA) on March 23, 2004. Paragraph six of the PSA addressed medical expenses for their one unemancipated child, the other child having been emancipated at the time of the PSA:

The Husband and Wife shall provide medical insurance coverage available through their employers for the minor child until the Child is emancipated. If insurance is not available through . . . their employers than [sic] they shall pay the cost of private insurance equally 50/50. The Husband and Wife shall share equally the cost of uncovered medical expenses. Payments by the Husband shall be due after the Wife submits to the Husband documentation of the medical expenses and [the] parties have received notice of payment by the medical insurer.

In April 2008, plaintiff filed a motion to enforce this provision. The motion was supported by voluminous documentation, including proof of her expense to provide insurance covering the child, and proof of un-reimbursed medical costs. The expenses covered the period March 2004 to March 2007. Defendant objected that although plaintiff's employer had deducted amounts from her paycheck for family coverage, this was not the "private insurance" contemplated by the PSA. He also objected that he had "no idea" of the child's medical expenses.

He further contended that his child support payments should have covered these expenses.

In a written opinion, Judge Dilts rejected these contentions, concluding that defendant's "obligation to pay a portion of [the child's] medical expenses is in addition to his regular child support obligation. Therefore, his child support payments are not contribution toward his portion of [the child's] medical expenses." Judge Dilts also found that plaintiff's employer did not pay for family coverage, and defendant did not provide proof that his employer would pay for such coverage. Therefore, he construed the PSA as requiring the parties to share the out-of-pocket cost of paying for the insurance. He also found that plaintiff had submitted "sufficient proof of her medical expenses incurred" for the child.

Our review of Judge Dilts' decision is limited, in view of the deference due to decisions of the Family Part. See Cesare v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394, 411-12 (1998). Moreover, having reviewed the entire record, we find his decision to be supported by the undisputed evidence and consistent with applicable law. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A).

On this appeal, defendant contends that the insurance provided through plaintiff's employer was not "private" insurance, even though plaintiff had to pay for it. We find no merit in this contention. The obvious intent of the PSA was that the parties would share the cost of purchasing insurance coverage for their child, if neither of their employers would provide family coverage at the employer's expense. Defendant did not present any evidence that his employer would have paid for this coverage or that he could have obtained the coverage at a lower cost than plaintiff incurred. We find no basis to disturb Judge Dilts' decision on this issue. To the extent defendant has presented additional arguments, they are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).



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