On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FM-12-7910-92.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Wefing, Payne and Hayden.
Defendant, Kevin Valero, appeals from a Family Part order of April 1, 2010 reducing his obligation to provide child support to his youngest daughter to $42 per week plus $20 per week in arrears, requiring that he pay one-third of the cost of her tuition and books while attending Rider University, and requiring that he pay seventy-eight percent of her living expenses of $10,380 per year. At the time of the court's order, the daughter lived independently in rented quarters near her school and was expected to graduate in May 2011. She did not reside with either of her parents when school was not in session. The daughter's two older sisters are both emancipated.
On appeal, defendant makes the following arguments:
1. The trial court erred in fixing defendant's child support obligation [at] $42.00 per week by utilizing The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines and the solo parenting worksheet instead of the shared parenting worksheet.
2. The trial court erred in ordering defendant to pay $20.00 per week towards his arrears balance until the arrears balance is paid in full and in not ordering plaintiff to pay $1437.06 in arrears for the Fall 2009 semester and in not assessing the plaintiff's deficiency in her contribution for the Spring 2010 semester in the amount of $5,198.00.
3. The trial court erred in modifying the terms of the parties' agreement in the absence of a finding that a change in circumstances had occurred or that enforcement of its terms would be unjust.
4. No review of the factors set forth in Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, 545 (1982) w[as] made, even though this is required when deviating from a 50/50 split in college expense contribution.
5. The court erred in not granting oral argument although requested by both parties.
We reverse and remand the matter for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.
The parties were married in 1982 and were divorced in 1993. In connection with their divorce, they entered into an oral property settlement agreement (PSA), incorporated into the judgment of divorce, that provided for the payment of $300 per week as support for the three children of the marriage until such time as the children were emancipated. The PSA further provided that emancipation would occur upon graduation from high school unless the child attended a full-time two or four-year college program. A section captioned "College Education" provided:
The parties agree to be responsible for the children's college education in relation to their financial ability at the time each child enters college. The choice of college shall be determined by the financial ability of the parties in conjunction with ...