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Jeanette Mathews v. Paul Mathews

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


April 20, 2012

JEANETTE MATHEWS, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PAUL MATHEWS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FM-12-27791-81.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 19, 2012 -

Before Judges Axelrad and Sapp-Peterson.

In this appeal, defendant seeks reversal of the trial court order denying his motion to terminate alimony, which defendant claimed, at the time of his divorce, was based upon his yearly income of approximately $150,000 and plaintiff's unemployed status. Since that time, defendant contends his yearly income has been reduced to $27,000 from all sources. Because defendant has failed to articulate the error he assigns to the motion judge's ruling and include in his appendix the requisite documents to inform our appellate review, we dismiss the appeal.

Rule 2:6-1(a)(1) requires that an appellant's appendix include "such . . . parts of the record . . . as are essential to the proper consideration of the issues, including such parts as the appellant should reasonably assume will be relied upon by the respondent." Here, defendant's appendix provides no information as to what was provided to the motion judge. Nor does defendant's brief comply with Rule 2:6-2, requiring that the legal argument be divided "under appropriate point headings." Rather, defendant's appendix merely contains copies of prior orders, and his brief appears to be a general recitation of the history of this matrimonial litigation, without reference to error committed by the motion judge, warranting reversal of the order under appeal.

Defendant, as a pro se appellant, is held to the same standard for compliance with our court rules as a litigant represented by counsel. Rubin v. Rubin, 188 N.J. Super. 155, 159 (App. Div. 1982). While procedural deficiencies should not serve as a sword to deny relief, where the deficiencies impact meaningful appellate review, dismissal is appropriate. In re Zakhari, 330 N.J. Super. 493, 495 (App. Div. 2000). Such is the situation here where, for example, the appendix does not contain the submissions, if any, to the motion judge of defendant's prior and current Case Information Statements, submissions that must accompany any motion for post judgment relief. Rule 5:5-4(a).

Appeal dismissed.

20120420

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