On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FD-20-2149-02.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Fuentes, J. N. Harris and Koblitz.
Plaintiff Salvatore Perillo, Jr. appeals from the July 8, 2011 order after a plenary hearing that reduced his annual child support by $6600. Plaintiff argues that the judge erred in not further reducing his support obligation. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.
The parties had a romantic relationship in 1998 that resulted in the birth of their son in April 2001. Their relationship ended shortly thereafter. Defendant Vickie A. White then moved from their joint home in New York City to a rented home in New Jersey, paid for by plaintiff.
Defendant expressed her desire to relocate with the child to California to be close to her family. Plaintiff commenced litigation in New Jersey to prevent the move and, after ten days of trial, the parties settled. On April 29, 2004, both parties, represented by counsel, entered into a written settlement agreement. They agreed to joint legal and physical custody of their son. Defendant agreed not to relocate with their son away from New Jersey until he graduated from high school.
Paragraph 2.1 of the settlement agreement covering child support states:
The Plaintiff shall pay child support as a combination of direct child support and his assuming the responsibility for, and the payment of, certain recurring home expenses at the home where the Defendant resides, and will reside, with the child as more particularly set forth in Paragraphs 2.4 and 2.10 of this Judgment. The Plaintiff stipulates that, absent any substantial adverse change in circumstance, his child support obligation, in the combination of the above categories, shall be equal to the maximum child support allowable under the Guidelines for one child, plus such additional amount as is necessary and reasonable to the child.*fn1
Paragraph 2.4 addresses the rental home where defendant and their son were then living. Paragraph 2.10 states:
Following closing of title, the Plaintiff's regular support obligation for the child shall be to pay the monthly mortgage, taxes, homeowner's insurance, cable television and snow removal. In addition, he shall pay as and for additional child support, the sum of $500.00 per month due and payable on the first day of each month.
The agreement further indicates that when the house is sold, plaintiff will receive the amount of the down payment and mortgage reduction, as well as reimbursement for various other payments previously made by him. After that deduction, the net proceeds will be divided equally between the parties. Defendant agreed that only her mother could reside in the home on a permanent basis with her and the boy.
Defendant married in May 2008 and had a baby girl. When she married, her husband moved into the home. Plaintiff filed an action in the Law Division seeking to eject defendant's husband from the home, which was settled with his payment of $13,500 to plaintiff. Defendant and her husband are now separated. He no longer lives with defendant, although their daughter remains with her and her son in the three-bedroom home. She receives irregular payments of $400 in support from her husband.
Due to the little girl's presence in the home, as well as plaintiff's claimed diminished income, he filed an application on June 28, 2010, to reduce his child support. Finding the only change in circumstances was the daughter's presence in the home, the hearing judge diminished child support without reference to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines (CSG). Child ...