On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FM-07-2459-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 30, 2010
Before Judges Carchman and Waugh.
Plaintiff Maureen Brady-Rosenstrauch*fn1 appeals from certain provisions of a final judgment of divorce dated December 10, 2009. She asserts that the judge failed to make adequate findings of fact and erred in the distribution of property, award of child support and alimony, improperly established a quantum of life insurance coverage and failed to set forth certain criteria for emancipation as well as exemptions. We affirm in part, reverse in part and remand for further proceedings.
We adduce the following facts from the record.
Plaintiff and defendant, Robert Rosenstrauch, were married in 1989. Two children were born of the marriage, Kara and I.R.*fn2
Plaintiff is a freelance graphic designer, and received an associate's degree from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco in the late 1970s. Plaintiff recently started an online degree program in the hopes of obtaining a permanent position. Defendant, who has a Bachelor of Science degree, previously worked in the construction renovation business. In the mid-90's, defendant became a real estate appraiser and owns and operates his own business.
Kara, who was nineteen years old at the time of the trial, had graduated from high school and attended college for one semester. She left college and began working at a restaurant.
Both parties agreed that Kara planned to attend community college, and I.R. would attend college after high school.
Early in the marriage, the parties agreed that after they had children, plaintiff would stay at home and start her own business. They lived in a rented house, which they purchased in 1995. The down payment on the house was $25,000, $15,000 of which came from plaintiff and $10,000 from defendant's mother. The house is currently mortgaged for approximately $117,000. The mortgage payment on the house was $2316 per month, which defendant paid. Defendant also paid other monthly bills, including electricity, gas, water, sewer. Defendant's total monthly payment was $3288. According to plaintiff, she paid for cell phones, transportation costs, and personal expenses totaling approximately $9000 per month. From 1995 to 2002, a tenant rented the first floor, but when the tenant moved out, the parties occupied the entire house. Plaintiff now lives upstairs, and defendant lives downstairs.
After the birth of their children and consistent with the parties' marital plan, plaintiff stayed at home and worked approximately twenty-nine hours per week. The parties began having marital problems in 1995, and eventually separated in March 2007. In May 2007, plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce.
From 2003 to 2006, plaintiff reported the following yearly income: $39,950 in 2003, $39,884 in 2004, $57,424 in 2005, and $67,664 in 2006. During the same years, defendant reported the following income: $89,985 in 2003, $88,104 in 2004, $99,947 in 2005, and $104,592 in 2006. In 2007, plaintiff filed a separate tax return with a gross income of $62,368. The five-year average reported income for plaintiff was $53,458, and $92,411 for defendant.
According to plaintiff, during the marriage, the parties made independent financial decisions. Plaintiff opened her own checking account in 1996. Prior to that time, plaintiff and defendant had always shared a joint account. After 1996, plaintiff's only contribution to the joint finances was the ...