On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hunterdon County, Docket No. FM-10-031-99.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Axelrad and Espinosa.
Plaintiff appeals from the denial of his post-judgment cross-motion that sought, in part, the retroactive modification of child support. Defendant cross-appeals from the denial of her motion for counsel fees. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
The parties were married in June 1982 and had two children, Emily, born in 1988, and Jonathan, born in 1990. Plaintiff is a dentist with an established practice. Defendant is a dental hygienist. The parties agreed upon the terms of a property settlement agreement (PSA) that was incorporated in their final judgment of divorce in March 1999.
The parties agreed that they would enjoy joint legal and residential custody of the two children. Paragraph 4 provides:
Both parties agree to provide fully all support and remain in full force and effect. [sic] Both parties agree to provide fully all support and maintenance for the children while exercising parenting time. The parties acknowledge that Husband's income exceeds Wife's income and that the need for additional funds to provide for the children, while Wife is exercising her parenting time with the children, has been encompassed within the terms of the equitable distribution property settlement set forth hereinafter. [(Emphasis added).]
The terms of the equitable distribution settlement referred to are set forth in paragraph 16 of the PSA:
LUMP SUM EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION
The parties agree that, in order to compensate Wife for her equitable share of Husband's dental practice and her waiver of alimony, as well as to provide additional funds for the support and maintenance of the children while Wife is spending parenting time with them, Husband shall pay to Wife a lump sum
a. From February 1, 1999 through January 31, 2004, the sum of Three Thousand ($3,000) Dollars per month;
b. From February 1, 2004 through January 31, 2009, the sum of Twenty Five Hundred ($2,500) Dollars per month; and
c. From February 1, 2009 through January 31, 2014, the sum of Fifteen Hundred ...