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Joann E. Sisolak, F/K/A Joann E. Brown v. James P. Brown

July 20, 2012


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FM-12-0974-10.

Per curiam.


Submitted May 22, 2012

Before Judges Messano and Yannotti.

In this post-judgment matrimonial action, plaintiff Joann E. Sisolak, formerly known as Joann E. Brown, appeals from certain provisions of the Family Part's order of November 3, 2011.*fn1 Specifically, plaintiff argues that the judge erred by: closing the probation account that garnished and monitored defendant James P. Brown's child support payments; ordering reimbursement to defendant for certain child care expenses without a plenary hearing; ordering defendant receive credit retroactively for alleged child support overpayments; ordering plaintiff to complete IRS form 8332 on an annual basis; ordering probation to conduct an accounting of all payments defendant made directly to plaintiff after fixing the amount of child support and retroactively closing the account. We have considered the arguments raised in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.


The parties were married on May 14, 1994 and had two children, a son born in 1995 and a daughter born in 1996. A judgment of divorce was entered on September 1, 2010 that incorporated a property settlement agreement (PSA) executed by the parties.

The PSA provided that defendant would pay weekly child support in the amount of $247. That figure was based upon plaintiff's imputed income of $20,000 per year and defendant's 2009 income of $56,000. The payments were to be made "via direct deposit to [plaintiff] in an account of her choosing" and commenced upon plaintiff's re-financing of the marital home, which she retained.

Defendant filed a motion for a downward modification of support on January 28, 2011, and plaintiff cross-moved, seeking among other things, that payments be collected by the probation department through garnishment. On March 18, the judge granted defendant's motion to recalculate child support and ordered plaintiff to submit an "updated Case Information Statement" (CIS) within fourteen days of the order. He further ordered that the re-calculated support amount be effective from January

28. The judge also granted plaintiff's cross-motion and ordered both parties to open an account with the probation department.

Thereafter, on May 17, the judge entered an order reducing the child support to $233 per week, effective January 28, and further ordering probation to garnish defendant's wages when the account was in place. However, plaintiff admits the calculation improperly gave her a credit of $22 per week for providing health insurance instead of properly awarding that credit to defendant. Therefore, the correct support amount should have been $213 per week.

In August, defense counsel supplied probation with an accounting of all direct payments defendant claimed to have made to plaintiff from January 28 through June 17, 2011, the last week before the account was instituted. Because the parties could not agree on the amount directly paid to the plaintiff, a "Direct Pay Hearing" was held with the probation department on August 25, 2011. No agreement was reached, and defendant's garnishment immediately included an amount designated as arrearages.

In September, defendant again filed a motion seeking among other things: the immediate credit of $5131, reflecting the direct payments made to plaintiff from January to June; that probation cease collecting alleged arrears; repayment by plaintiff of "any overpayment of child support" made through the probation account; repayment by plaintiff of any amounts collected as arrears; reimbursement of uncovered dental expenses paid on behalf of the children; reimbursement of $105 representing plaintiff's share of their son's driving school expenses; an order directing plaintiff to file IRS Form 8332 every year so he could claim his son as a "tax exemption"; and counsel fees. In his certification supporting the motion, defendant claimed plaintiff failed to report to probation the direct payments he had made from January to June, resulting in the account being immediately in arrears.

Plaintiff replied by filing a certification detailing the amount of money in dispute and otherwise opposing defendant's request. She also moved for ...

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