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Donna Tarquini v. Michael Tarquini

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


October 31, 2011

DONNA TARQUINI, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MICHAEL TARQUINI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, Docket No. FM-16-1035-00.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: October 19, 2011

Before Judges Cuff and Lihotz.

Defendant Michael Tarquini filed a motion to emancipate his eighteen year old son. He appeals from the January 5, 2011 order denying this motion. We reverse and remand for a plenary hearing.

Plaintiff Donna Tarquini and defendant married in 1991. Their only child was born in 1992. The couple divorced on November 1, 2000. In his certification in support of his motion, and relying on the statutory presumption of emancipation, defendant conceded he had no relationship with his son. Defendant related that his son was eighteen but he had no idea whether his son was working or in school. Defendant related that plaintiff appeared at an October 18, 2010 probation hearing and stated that their son was caring for his maternal grandmother. She did not mention whether he was in school or employed. In response, plaintiff submits only a report from a psychiatrist that the couple's son had been under the psychiatrist's care for eleven years. Based on this certification, the motion judge denied the motion.

When a child reaches the age of eighteen, there is a rebuttable presumption of emancipation. Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, 543 (1982); Patette v. Patetta, 358 N.J. Super. 90, 93 (App. Div. 2003). Emancipation is appropriate at the conclusion of the dependent relationship between parent and child. Newburgh, supra, 88 N.J. at 543. The presumption may be overcome by evidence that the dependent relationship continues due to the needs of the child. Dolce v. Dolce, 383 N.J. Super. 11, 18 (App. Div. 2006).

Putting aside for the moment the hearsay nature of the psychiatrist's report, the record is bereft of any information about the impact of the various conditions recited by the son's physician. Many people not only function but also excel in school and at work with various physical and psychiatric conditions. This record contains no information whether the couple's son remains financially dependent on his mother and father or whether he is or can be self-supporting. In short, the record before the motion judge did not permit entry of an order denying defendant's motion; rather, it required a plenary hearing to examine the status of the couple's son.

We, therefore, reverse the January 5, 2011 order and remand for a plenary hearing that should occur within sixty days of receipt of this opinion. We do not retain jurisdiction.

20111031

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