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Laura Moffitt v. Guy J. Moffitt

December 9, 2011

LAURA MOFFITT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
GUY J. MOFFITT, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, FM-02-1882-02.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 18, 2011 -

Before Judges Reisner and Simonelli.

These two appeals, which we have consolidated for purposes of this opinion, arise from post-judgment matrimonial motions filed by plaintiff Laura Moffitt against defendant Guy Moffitt. Plaintiff appeals from a June 7, 2010 order concerning child support and a July 23, 2010 order denying her motion for reconsideration of the June 7 order. She also appeals from an October 29, 2010 order declaring the parties' daughter emancipated and a December 22, 2010 order denying her reconsideration motion. We affirm all of the orders on appeal.

I

We first address the motion concerning child support. Briefly, the parties were married in 1987 and divorced in 2003. They have a son born in 1991 and a daughter born in 1988. In the divorce judgment, defendant was required to pay $85,000 per year in alimony and $31,200 per year in child support. In January 2005, he filed a motion to reduce his support obligations. On December 15, 2005, the Family Part judge reduced defendant's alimony obligation to $25,000 per year and his child support obligation to $311 per week, due to a significant reduction in his income. Plaintiff appealed.

On that appeal, we remanded the matter to the Family Part to correct the support calculation for a one-week period between January 14, 2005 and January 21, 2005, the date on which we determined that defendant had filed his motion to reduce his support obligations. Moffitt v. Moffitt, Nos. A-0573-05; A-2949-05; A-3178-06 (App. Div. March 26, 2009) (slip op. at 44). On remand, pursuant to our opinion, probation carried out an audit. At a hearing before Judge Melchionne, a probation employee testified that the audit used the support amount required by our opinion. The probation employee specifically confirmed that plaintiff received the higher support amount up to January 21, 2005. In an oral opinion issued June 7, 2010, the judge accepted that testimony and denied plaintiff's motion.

On this appeal, plaintiff once again contends that probation miscalculated one week of alimony from 2005. Having reviewed the record, we find no basis to disturb Judge Melchionne's decision. Plaintiff's appellate contentions are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

II

We next turn to the second appeal, which primarily concerns the emancipation of the parties' daughter. Judge Melchionne held a three-day bench trial on the parties' disputes over the daughter's emancipation, the son's college tuition, reimbursement of the children's unreimbursed medical expenses, and defendant's obligations for health insurance and life insurance.

This was the most pertinent evidence. At the time of the hearing, the daughter had graduated from college. She had applied and been accepted to a graduate degree program in media studies and media management. According to plaintiff, the daughter wanted to be a college professor.

Although she was an adult, the daughter did not testify. However, plaintiff admitted that the daughter had not even considered taking out student loans to pay for her graduate studies. Nor did the daughter make any effort to obtain full time employment to pay for graduate school. Instead, she and plaintiff expected defendant to pay for it. Plaintiff testified that she considered "graduate school to be college" and therefore believed the divorce judgment required defendant to pay for graduate school.

According to defendant's testimony, neither the daughter nor plaintiff consulted with him in advance concerning her choice of a graduate school, or how much it might cost. Nor did he agree to pay for graduate school. However, he testified that if the daughter attended graduate school, she ...


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