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Zoeller v. Demarest

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


February 25, 2010

SANDY ZOELLER, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
SCOTT D. DEMAREST, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part, Burlington County, Docket No. FM-03-385-03.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 27, 2010

Before Judges Miniman and Waugh.

Defendant Scott D. Demarest appeals the denial of his cross-motion for a reduction in child support and other relief. We affirm.

Demarest and plaintiff Sandy Zoeller were married in 2000 and divorced in 2003. They have one son, who resides with Zoeller. The parties have had ongoing differences about parenting time and child support, which has resulted in considerable post-judgment motion practice. In the most recent round of motions, Demarest sought a reduction of child support by way of a cross-motion to Zoeller's motion seeking a variety of relief related to parenting terms and support. His application was denied without prejudice. He appeals that decision, arguing that the motion judge should have held a plenary hearing and should also have awarded counsel fees for defending against Zoeller's largely unsuccessful motion for affirmative relief.

We ordinarily accord great deference to the discretionary decisions of Family Part judges. Donnelly v. Donnelly, 405 N.J. Super. 117, 127 (App. Div. 2009) (citing Larbig v. Larbig, 384 N.J. Super. 17, 21 (App. Div. 2006)). Similar deference is accorded to the factual findings of those judges, Cesare v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394, 411-12 (1998), although, in this case, there were no findings of fact based upon an evidentiary hearing. A judge's purely legal decisions are subject to our plenary review. Crespo v. Crespo, 395 N.J. Super. 190, 194 (App. Div. 2007); Lobiondo v. O'Callaghan, 357 N.J. Super. 488, 495 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 177 N.J. 224 (2003).

The issues raised on appeal do not warrant extended discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). The motion judge denied the application for a reduction in child support because Demarest failed to file a complete case information statement. The denial was without prejudice. We find no abuse of discretion in that regard. As to counsel fees, Demarest's cross-motion did not seek counsel fees and no affidavit of services was provided. Consequently, we affirm the order on appeal.

Affirmed.

20100225

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