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Tahan v. Tahan


July 8, 2010


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, Docket No. FM-16-1041-01.

Per curiam.


Submitted June 22, 2010

Before Judges Fisher and Reisner.

In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, defendant seeks reversal of an order that denied his motion to modify or vacate his child support obligation. We affirm.

Our examination of the issues is hampered by the scant information contained in defendant's appendix. We gather from the unsupported representations contained in defendant's brief that: the parties were divorced in 2002; their daughter was born in 1987 and their son was born in 1991; and defendant's child support obligation at the time the motion in question was filed was $202 per week. The parenting schedule at the time the existing support obligation was fixed is not revealed.

Defendant's appendix contains a letter dated October 16, 2008, written by a parenting coordinator, which set forth the parties' agreement that defendant would temporarily become the parent of primary responsibility (PPR) of the parties' son. The agreement also expressly stated that this arrangement would remain in effect only through the summer of 2009 and would be reevaluated in September 2009. The agreement said nothing about child support.

It appears that at the time the motion to modify or terminate child support was filed -- and the record does not indicate when it was filed -- the parties' daughter was enrolled in college. The record on appeal does not contain the parties' moving and opposing papers, but it appears that defendant sought modification or termination based on some or all of the following claims: he had become the PPR of the parties' son; the parties' daughter was emancipated; and the daughter's attendance at college lessened or eliminated plaintiff's need for child support. In his oral decision, the judge correctly concluded that, as a general matter, a child's attendance at college does not necessarily mean the child has been emancipated. He also correctly recognized that when a child resides for a portion of the year at college, the supported parent continues to have expenses that negate a termination of support, although that circumstance may warrant a modification. The judge ultimately concluded that none of defendant's arguments presented a circumstance that warranted a substantial alteration in the existing child support obligation. As a result, the judge denied defendant's motion for termination of the obligation, but reduced the obligation to $182 per week. It appears from the judge's oral decision that the obligation was reduced by $20 to the current amount of $182 because the parties' son primarily resides with defendant.

Contrary to Rule 2:6-1(a)(1), defendant has failed to include in his appendix: any prior child support order; evidence as to the information upon which the existing child support obligation was based; the case information statement that should have been submitted with the motion or any prior case information statements; and the moving and opposing papers that were submitted in connection with the order under review. This failure significantly inhibits our ability to meaningfully review the order in question and warrants a rejection of defendant's arguments. See Society Hill Condo. Ass'n v. Society Hill Assocs., 347 N.J. Super. 163, 177-78 (App. Div. 2002). Based on what has been provided, we are not persuaded that the judge erred or mistakenly exercised his discretion in not granting a greater reduction in defendant's child support obligation.



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