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Samuel Rothfeld v. Jane Rothfeld

August 29, 2011

SAMUEL ROTHFELD, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JANE ROTHFELD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FM-14-00323-02.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 25, 2011

Before Judges Carchman and Graves.

In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, defendant Jane Rothfeld appeals from an order dated August 6, 2009, denying her application to increase the amount and extend the term of her limited duration alimony, and to increase child support. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Defendant and plaintiff Samuel Rothfeld were married on October 21, 1995, and have two sons, ages fourteen and twelve.*fn1

The parties were divorced on March 17, 2003, and their final judgment of divorce incorporated a property settlement agreement (the Agreement). Pursuant to the Agreement, defendant is designated as the parent of primary residence, and the parties share joint legal custody. Both parties are members of the New Jersey Bar, and plaintiff maintains an active private practice.

Paragraph 4.2 of the Agreement states that the parties "shall share any of [defendant's] work-related child care expenses for the children on a 80%/20% basis," with plaintiff paying 80% of the expense. The parties agreed to allocate the cost of the children's extracurricular activities and their "uncovered/unreimbursed health related expenses" in the same fashion.

With regard to alimony, the Agreement stated that plaintiff would "pay limited duration alimony to [defendant] in the amount of $500 per week for a period of four years effective April 1, 2003." The parties acknowledged in the Agreement that they were aware "of the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. 11 (2000)," and defendant represented she would "be able to continue the standard of living which she enjoyed during the course of the marriage as a result of her ability to earn income, the receipt of support from [plaintiff], as well as the assets she [was] receiving by way of equitable distribution."

With regard to child support, the agreement provided as follows:

Commencing on April 1, 2003, [plaintiff] agrees to pay child support directly to [defendant] in the sum of $500 per week, representing child support for both [Jonathan] and [Martin] until a child(ren) is emancipated. Said child support is in excess of the level of support required by the Child Support Guidelines in recognition of the total support amount being paid by [plaintiff] including alimony.

In March 2007, defendant filed a motion to increase the amount and extend the term of the limited duration alimony, and to increase child support. In a supporting certification, defendant stated that Jonathan had been diagnosed with multiple disabilities, including "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Asperger's Disorder." Defendant also certified that she was unable "to acquire gainful employment" because "caring for Jonathan [had] become a full-time job." Plaintiff opposed the application, arguing that the Agreement was fair and reasonable and that defendant had not sufficiently demonstrated an inability to work part-time. The trial court denied defendant's motion without oral argument on May 4, 2007.

Defendant appealed and, in an unpublished opinion, we reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing. Rothfeld v. Rothfeld, No. A-5105-06 (App. Div. Nov. 3, 2008). In our prior opinion, we noted that defendant's "proofs with respect to ...


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