On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County,*fn1 Docket No. FM-12-22-08G.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges A. A. Rodriguez and Reisner.
This is the second time this matter comes before us. On October 22, 2009, we remanded to the Family Part a portion of an August 12, 2008 order awarding respondent Susan B. McCrae retroactive child support because the motion judge "did not state clearly her factual findings or correlate them with relevant legal conclusions." On remand, the judge made more specific findings and entered an order dated November 18, 2009. Michael McCrea appeals from that order. We affirm.
Michael and Susan were divorced in September 1999, after fourteen years of marriage. They had two girls and three boys. The three oldest children are emancipated, and the two youngest are now ages nineteen and seventeen. Although the final judgment of divorce granted Susan "primary residential custody" of the children, the parties had joint legal custody and "shared parenting time as the parties agree."
In 2002, Michael moved to modify prior custody orders. Judge Karen Cassidy issued a May 30, 2002 order, denying Michael's motion, but modifying the parties' agreed parenting time. The order provided that the daughters would reside with Susan; the parties would share parenting time with their sons; and Michael was to pay $147 per week for child support.
Four years later, Susan moved to modify the May 30, 2002 order to reflect that her sons resided primarily with her. She also sought to compel Michael to pay child support for their three sons in accordance with the child support guidelines. Before the matter was decided, venue was transferred to Middlesex County because Susan is a matrimonial attorney who regularly appears in the Union County Family Part.
After Susan filed the motion in Middlesex County, Judge Glenn Berman modified the May 30, 2002 order to reflect that the parties' sons lived with Susan. He did not order retroactive child support because he was "unable to determine the amount of [p]arenting time exercised by [Michael] as the conflicting affidavits of the parties raise[d] a number of [factual issues]." The judge appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) to resolve this dispute and ordered each party to pay half of the GAL's fee.
Michael moved for reconsideration. On August 28, 2008 Judge Berman denied Michael's motion and ordered him to pay child support retroactive to the filing date of Susan's motion. The order also permitted Susan to seek retroactive child support from an earlier date after receipt of the GAL's report.
The GAL issued a report on August 29, 2008, finding that Michael had not had any parenting time with his oldest son since he was in the ninth grade. The GAL also found that the parties' second son had not spent any overnights with Michael since September 2007, and the parties' youngest son visited Michael "only . . . occasionally since May 2007. Moreover, none of the children had stayed overnight with Michael since March 2008.
Based on the GAL's report, Susan moved before a different judge for $27,235 in child support retroactive to May 29, 2007, and reimbursement of her share of the GAL's fee. The judge awarded Susan retroactive child support only to August 12, 2008, and ordered that each party would pay half of GAL's fee.
Following Susan's appeal, we reversed and remanded for more specific findings, but did not retain jurisdiction. McCrae v. McCrae, No. ...