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Joel Scott Isaacson v. Lily Isaacson

March 20, 2012

JOEL SCOTT ISAACSON, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LILY ISAACSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FM-07-1176-95.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued October 31, 2011

Before Judges Grall, Alvarez and Skillman.

Defendant Lily Isaacson appeals from a February 1, 2011 order denying her motion for an increase in child support. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Defendant and plaintiff Joel Scott Isaacson divorced on January 22, 1996. The parties had two children, born September 10, 1986, and June 1, 1989, who resided with defendant. Both are now emancipated.

At the time of divorce, plaintiff earned approximately $180,000 per year from his financial planning business. Pursuant to the property settlement agreement, he paid defendant $800 per month in alimony until June 1, 1997, and an additional $2600 in alimony until November 1, 1999. He also agreed to pay $1200 per month per child in support, eighty percent of the children's unreimbursed medical expenses, and for summer camp. Private school tuition was to be negotiated. During the following years, plaintiff and defendant resolved disputes through mediation.

In September 1999, defendant filed her first motion for modification, alleging that plaintiff's annual income had grown in the intervening three and one-half years to approximately $500,000, and that $2400 monthly in total child support would be insufficient after alimony ceased. Child support was accordingly increased to $1750 per child monthly, and plaintiff was required to pay seventy-nine percent of the children's $20,000 per year per child private school tuition.

Defendant appealed the order, which we modified, making plaintiff responsible for all of the children's private school tuition. Isaacson v. Isaacson, 348 N.J. Super. 560, 590 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 174 N.J. 364 (2002).

On April 24, 2006, defendant filed a second motion for upward modification of child support, alleging that the children's maturation warranted an increase. At that juncture, the oldest child had been away at college for approximately two years, at a cost of $45,000 per school year, paid for exclusively by plaintiff. Additionally, he had continued to pay $3500 per month in child support, not seeking a reduction even though the child did not live at home.

The items sought by defendant in the 2006 application included reimbursement for $78,000 she claimed she had borrowed from her mother to defray the costs of raising the children; the cost of cars for her daughters, as well as car insurance, maintenance and repairs; college prep books; clothing; and other incidental expenses she claimed exceeded the monthly child support. Defendant also sought extensive discovery of plaintiff's financial affairs.

Defendant's 2006 application resulted in a modification requiring that plaintiff pay an additional $400 per month directly to the child then in college as spending money, a practice he continued when the younger child started her college education. The actual child support amount was increased by only $60 per month, the cost of the children's cell phone bills. Additionally, plaintiff was required to pay all of the younger child's future SAT tutoring expenses.

Defendant appealed the 2006 order and we remanded the matter solely to allow limited discovery, and for the motion judge, once plaintiff's income was established, to reevaluate the application for an increase in child support. We also directed the court to reconsider the denial of defendant's request for reimbursement of tutoring expenses. Isaacson v. Isaacson, No. A-5703-05 (Apr. 25, 2008) (slip op. at 9-10).

Accordingly, on remand, the parties exchanged 2006 and 2007 tax returns, and up-to-date case information statements. See R. 5:5-2. Limited ...


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