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Paula Sweet F/K/A Ludwig v. Kevin Ludwig

September 20, 2011

PAULA SWEET F/K/A LUDWIG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
KEVIN LUDWIG, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cumberland County, Docket No. FM-06-393-00.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted August 24, 2011

Before Judges Simonelli and Espinosa.

Plaintiff appeals from a post-judgment order that required defendant, her former husband, to pay for eighty-five percent of their son's direct college expenses, $150 per week while he is enrolled in college and $200 per week when he is on summer break. We affirm.

Plaintiff and defendant were married in September 1990 and had one child, a son. They were divorced in June 2000, and the comprehensive property settlement agreement (PSA) they agreed upon was incorporated into their judgment of divorce.

The PSA required defendant to pay child support of $380 per week and alimony of $3,000 per month. As for their son's college and graduate school education, the PSA stated that "the parties, to the extent that each shall be financially able, shall pay for or contribute to such advanced education." The parties agreed to consult regarding this issue and, if unable to agree, to have the matter resolved by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The parties were unable to resolve the college contribution issue. In April 2010, plaintiff filed a motion seeking contribution to college expenses and a modification of child support. Defendant filed a cross-motion, asking the court to deny plaintiff's motion, terminate child support, and direct their son to authorize the release of certain information. The parties exchanged current case information statements.

The court provided the parties with a tentative decision on these issues prior to oral argument. Plaintiff did not disagree with the 85/15% split of college expenses contained in the trial court's tentative decision. However, she argued that the breakdown should apply to all college costs, and that their son, who was already contributing $13,100 to his college costs based upon a scholarship and grant, should be relieved of any additional obligation to contribute to his expenses by obtaining loans. The trial court agreed with defendant that their son should be required to obtain all loans, grants and scholarships and entered an order that provided, in pertinent part:

DEFENDANT shall pay 85% of the direct costs for the college education of the child, [], less any scholarships, loans and grants received by him. PLAINTIFF shall pay the remainder, or 15% of the same . . . . [The child] shall apply for all available financial aid, including grants, loans and scholarships to offset the cost of the college expenses to both PLAINTIFF and DEFENDANT.

As for child support, plaintiff asked the court to set child support at $150 per week while their son was in college and $600 per week when he was on summer break. Defendant countered that he wanted to pay $100 per week. The trial court agreed to modify child support, requiring defendant to pay $150 per week while their son was in college and $200 per week while he was on summer break.

Plaintiff presents the following issues for our consideration in this appeal:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THE UNEMANCIPATED CHILD MUST ...


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