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Townsend v. Townsend


May 18, 2010


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Mercer County, Docket No. FM-11-711-97.

Per curiam.


Submitted January 26, 2010

Before Judges Grall and LeWinn.

In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, plaintiff Claude Townsend appeals from the August 29, 2008 order of the Family Part requiring him to reimburse defendant Karla Townsend in the amount of $2782, representing his fifty-two percent share of their children's prior private school tuition and summer camp expenses, and to continue to pay fifty-two percent of such expenses in the future. He also appeals from the denial of his request to modify custody of the children.

The parties agreed to have their post-judgment motions resolved on the papers. From the transcript of the judge's oral decision, it is apparent that defendant filed a motion seeking (1) an adjustment in child support; (2) reimbursement for expenses previously incurred for the children's private school tuition and summer camp; and (3) an order requiring plaintiff to continue to contribute to these expenses in the future.

Plaintiff apparently filed a cross-motion seeking modification of the custody arrangement regarding the parties' three children, who were thirteen, twelve and ten years old at the time of the proceedings below.

Neither party has included the motion papers in his or her appendix. Plaintiff appends defendant's certification in opposition to his cross-motion; however, this is the only document of record provided to us.

Regarding the school tuition and summer camp expenses, the judge found that defendant submitted documentation of those expenses. Further, the judge recalculated child support in accordance with the child support guidelines at that time, based upon the parties' current earnings. The resulting worksheet showed that plaintiff's share of the parties' combined net income was fifty-two percent. The judge thereupon applied that percentage to plaintiff's share of the expenses.

Regarding plaintiff's custody request, the judge found "no basis for that. The conditions that [plaintiff] has were well known. There's . . . no indication in any of the information before the [c]court as to why, just because of that situation[,] there should be a change in custody." Without the motion papers, we lack any basis to understand, let alone assess the merits of, the judge's denial of this request. We have only defendant's certification stating that since 1997, she has "had full custody of [the] three children[,]" and "[s]ince that time the visitation with the plaintiff has been very sporadic. Over the years, the visitation has decreased to the point where there is overnight visitation with the children with the plaintiff maybe once every four months."

In his brief, plaintiff addresses the custody issue at length, citing the "Convention on the Rights of the Child"; the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"; and the "United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[.]" However, he cites no pertinent case law and discusses no relevant facts addressed to his custody request.

Regarding the tuition and summer camp expenses, plaintiff presents no argument whatsoever on this point.

Plaintiff has failed to provide us with any pertinent legal support for the issues raised. In addition, he has not complied with the requirement of Rule 2:6-1(a)(1)(I) that he include in his appendix "such . . . parts of the record . . . as are essential to the proper consideration of the issues . . . ." In short, plaintiff "has presented th[is] matter to us in a manner which rendered review on the merits impossible," leaving us "no alternative but to affirm." Soc'y Hill Condo Ass'n, Inc. v. Soc'y Hill Assocs., 347 N.J. Super. 163, 177-78 (App. Div. 2002).



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