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Victoria Lucido v. Kenneth M. Denti

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


August 5, 2011

VICTORIA LUCIDO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
KENNETH M. DENTI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 5, 2011 Before Judges Cuff and Fuentes.

In this matrimonial case, defendant Kenneth M. Denti appeals from the order of the Family Part granting plaintiff Victoria Lucido's cross-motion*fn1 seeking to enforce certain provisions of the property settlement agreement (PSA) entered into by the parties and incorporated into the final judgment of divorce dated November 19, 1991. We affirm.

The parties were married in 1986 and had a daughter born in 1990. The child was nearing two years old at the time the marriage was officially dissolved by judicial decree. The PSA is a comprehensive settlement agreement that addressed and resolved all of the customary issues associated with the dissolution of a marriage. The provisions of this document informed and supported the trial court's ruling challenged by defendant in this appeal.

Article I of the PSA provides for joint custody of the parties' daughter, with plaintiff retaining primary physical custody and defendant enjoying "liberal and reasonable rights of visitation." Subsequent enumerated paragraphs under Article I elaborate and specify the parties' rights and obligations with respect to their daughter.

Article III, Paragraph 8 establishes defendant's child support obligation at $200 per week, based on defendant's net monthly income of $4,026. Paragraph 10 provides for the termination of child support based on the occurrence of a number of events, including the emancipation*fn2 of the supported child. Article IV addresses the child's education. Paragraph 13 declares the parties' intention "to have the Child attend college or obtain other post-high school education."

Paragraph 14 establishes a savings plan to cover the anticipated cost of post-secondary education by requiring defendant to purchase $100 savings bonds every month until the child reached the age of eighteen; the PSA imposed a similar obligation on plaintiff, except that her monthly contribution was a $50 savings bond.*fn3 Because the child is now twenty-one years old, this obligation ended three years ago when she reached the age of eighteen. Paragraph 15 requires the parties to "jointly approve of the college that the Child will attend," and neither party may "unreasonably withhold their approval of any school."

Article V, Paragraph 16 requires defendant to procure and maintain a $100,000 life insurance policy naming the child as beneficiary and plaintiff as trustee. This obligation terminates when the child is emancipated.

Article VI of the PSA addresses medical insurance coverage for the child. Paragraph 18 requires defendant to "maintain health insurance for the Child as provided through his employer." Under Paragraph 19, plaintiff is responsible "for maintaining her own medical insurance" and is obligated to cover all of her own un-reimbursed medical costs. Plaintiff also agreed to cover the child on her employer-provided medical insurance "if such is available." Paragraph 20 requires defendant to pay seventy-five percent of all un-reimbursed medical costs for the child, with plaintiff assuming responsibility for the remaining twenty-five percent.

Against this backdrop, plaintiff moved before the Family Part seeking enforcement of the provisions in the PSA that require defendant to maintain a life insurance policy naming the child as beneficiary and to pay his share of his daughter's college tuition. Plaintiff also sought for defendant to pay a lump sum payment toward child support arrears.

In her certification,*fn4 plaintiff indicated that since April 2008, she has repeatedly asked defendant to reimburse her for their daughter's Fall semester tuition at Burlington County Community College. Plaintiff sought a court order directing defendant to pay seventy-five percent of $1,177.50 from the education savings account established under Article IV, Paragraph 14 of the PSA. Plaintiff also sought for defendant to submit an accounting of the funds accumulated in the education saving account.

Based on the specific and unambiguous provisions in the PSA, the motion judge ruled in plaintiff's favor. On appeal, defendant argues the court disregarded or misconstrued the PSA in granting the relief sought by plaintiff. We reject this argument substantially for the reasons expressed by the Family Part. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A). Defendant's arguments also lack sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Affirmed.


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