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Aurora Arede v. Paulo Arede

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


September 29, 2011

AURORA AREDE, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PAULO AREDE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County, Docket No. FM-09-2326-06.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 20, 2011

Before Judges Payne, Simonelli and Hayden.

In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, defendant Paulo Arede appeals from the May 18, 2010 Family Part order, which denied his motion to disqualify the trial judge and granted the motions filed by plaintiff Aurora Arede and the Hudson County Probation Division to enforce litigant's rights based on defendant's failure to pay court-ordered alimony and child support. Defendant also appeals from the July 29, 2010 order, which denied his motion for reconsideration of the May 18, 2010 order. We affirm.

This case has a long and tortured procedural history, which we need not recite in full. The following procedural facts are relevant to this appeal. Plaintiff and defendant were married in September 2001, and separated in September 2005. They have one child. Following the filing of the divorce complaint in April 2006, the trial judge entered a pendente lite order on June 23, 2006, ordering defendant to pay $325 weekly for child support, and $755 weekly for alimony.*fn1 Defendant's failure to pay alimony and child support throughout the course of this litigation resulted in the entry of several enforcement orders, orders of contempt, bench warrants for his arrest, and his incarceration.

Following a twelve-day trial, the judge issued a comprehensive oral decision. Based on the financial evidence presented, the judge re-calculated defendant's support obligations, and then retroactively modified alimony to $385 weekly from June 23, 2006 to April 15, 2009, and adjusted defendant's alimony arrears to provide defendant an appropriate credit. The judge also modified child support prospectively to $229 weekly. The judge entered a Dual Final Judgment of Divorce (JOD) on April 15, 2009, memorializing her oral decision.

On January 21, 2010, the Probation Division filed a motion to enforce litigant's rights due to defendant's non-payment of alimony and child support. Defendant's arrears were $111,045.75 at the time.

On January 25, 2010, defendant filed a motion to terminate or modify alimony and child support and extinguish the arrears. He argued that the judge improperly calculated his support obligations. The judge entered an order on March 12, 2010, denying the motion.

On February 16, 2010, the judge entered an amended Dual Final Judgment of Divorce (AJOD), which modified alimony retroactively to $385 weekly from June 23, 2006 through April 15, 2009, and to $255.81 weekly from April 15, 2009 through April 15, 2010, at which time the limited duration alimony would terminate. The judge also ordered the Probation Division to audit defendant's account and adjust his arrears to provide him an appropriate credit. (Ibid.)

Defendant did not appeal the JOD, March 12, 2010 order, or AJOD, or seek reconsideration. Instead, on February 16, 2010, he filed a motion seeking to disqualify the judge based on the judge's alleged bias, "fraudulent and irresponsible [support] calculations in 2006, [which] caused [defendant] to be imprisoned for debt on 'fictitious' child support amounts[,]" and financial conflict of interest. Defendant also filed a cross-motion opposing the motion to enforce litigant's rights, which the Probation Division had filed on January 21, 2010. Defendant argued, in part, that the Probation Division's motion was frivolous and vexatious, and violated Rule 1:4-8 and N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1. On March 2, 2010, plaintiff filed a motion to enforce litigant's rights.

Following oral argument of all three motions, the judge issued an oral decision. She found no reason for her disqualification, and rejected defendant's attempt to re-argue that she erred in her support calculations, stating, "that ship has passed." On May 18, 2010, the judge entered an order, which denied defendant's motion and cross-motion and granted the Probation Division's and plaintiff's motions to enforce litigant's rights. The order also stated that the March 12, 2010 order had denied defendant's motion to modify or terminate alimony and support based on the judge's alleged improper support calculations.

Defendant filed a motion for reconsideration of the May 18, 2010 order. The judge entered an order on July 29, 2010, denying the motion. This appeal followed.

On appeal, defendant contends that the judge abused her discretion in calculating alimony and child support, and denying his motion to modify or terminate his support obligations and arrears. However, defendant did not appeal from the JOD, the AJOD, or the March 12, 2010 order. Defendant's notice of appeal states he is only appealing from the May 18, 2010, and July 29, 2010 orders. "[I]t is only the judgments or orders or parts thereof designated in the notice of appeal which are subject to the appeal process and review." Pressler and Verniero, Current N.J. Court Rules, comment 6 on R. 2:5-1(f)(1) (2011); see also 1266 Apt. Corp. v. New Horizon Deli, Inc., 368 N.J. Super. 456, 459 (App. Div. 2004); Fusco v. Newark Bd. of Educ., 349 N.J. Super. 455, 461-62 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 174 N.J. 544 (2002); Campagna v. Am. Cyanamid Co., 337 N.J. Super. 530, 550 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 168 N.J. 294 (2001); Sikes v. Twp. of Rockaway, 269 N.J. Super. 463, 465-66 (App. Div.), aff'd o.b. 138 N.J. 41 (1994). Thus, plaintiff's challenge to the judge's support calculations and denial of his motion to modify or terminate his support obligations and arrears is not properly before us. See W.H. Indus., Inc. v. Fundicao Balancins, Ltda, 397 N.J. Super. 455, 458 (App. Div. 2008).

Further, Rule 2:6-1(a)(1) required defendant to include all parts of the record that "are essential to the proper consideration of the issues . . . ." Defendant has failed to submit the trial transcripts. "That deficiency prohibits [this court's] review of [his] claim." Cipala v. Lincoln Techical Inst., 179 N.J. 45, 55 (2004).

Defendant also contends the judge erred in denying his motion for disqualification. We have considered this contention in light of the record and applicable legal principles and conclude it is without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Affirmed.


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