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Vardakis v. Vardakis

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 14, 2013

STEVEN VARDAKIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DEBRA VARDAKIS, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 5, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Mercer County, Docket No. FM-11-869-09.

Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC, attorneys for appellant (Derek M. Freed and Rebecca C. Day, of counsel and on the brief).

Respondent has not filed a brief.

Before Judges Fisher and Waugh.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Steven Vardakis appeals the Family Part's May 13, 2011 amended final judgment divorcing him from defendant Debra Vardakis, [1] as well as the July 11, 2011 order denying portions of his motion for reconsideration. We affirm in part and remand for reconsideration of certain issues identified in this opinion.

I.

We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.[2]

Steven and Debra, who had both been married before, met in 1996. At the time, Steven was living in New Jersey and Debra was living in Illinois. They became engaged in 1997. Steven purchased a house in Robbinsville in June 1998. Debra moved into the house in November. They married in March 2000. Although Debra sought permission to move her children from Illinois to New Jersey several times, it appears from the record that she was never allowed to do so. They have no children of their own, but owned a dog together.

At the time of the marriage, Steven was employed as a police officer in East Windsor. He retired in 2005, at which time he started receiving his police pension. He worked at other jobs following his employment, with at least one period of unemployment, and was employed at the time of trial, earning approximately $86, 000 per year. His net pension income was approximately $70, 800 per year.

Debra was employed during the marriage, first as a medical receptionist and then legal secretary. According to Debra's 2009 Social Security earnings record, she earned about $5600 in 2000, $6640 in 2001, $14, 350 in 2002, $13, 890 in 2003, $25, 740 in 2004, $36, 890 in 2005, and $36, 860 in 2006. In 2007, her earnings dropped to $2186. Debra's tax forms indicate that in 2008 she was unemployed. In 2009, she earned $14, 700 as a legal secretary, and also was unemployed for part of the year. At the time of trial, it appears from the record that Debra's most recent certified statement of income was from June 2010, when her only income was the pendente lite alimony of $1468 per month.

The couple lived in New Jersey during the marriage, although Debra spent several periods of time with her parents in Illinois. While some of her absences were related to the illness of her mother and the death of her father, Debra spent approximately eleven months in Illinois towards the end of their relationship due to marital conflicts. Debra ...


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