NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 5, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FM-14-0254-00.
Law Offices of Robert W. Mayer, attorneys for appellant (Robert W. Mayer, on the brief).
Respondent has not filed a brief.
Before Judges Fisher and St. John.
Defendant William F. Black appeals the Chancery Division's orders of February 2, 2012, denying his motion to terminate alimony and child support, and March 26, 2012, denying his motion for reconsideration. Following our review of the arguments advanced on appeal, in light of the record and applicable law, we reverse and remand.
The record discloses the following facts and procedural history.
Defendant and plaintiff Denise Black were divorced on September 18, 2002. Two children were born of the marriage, Nicole in 1991, and Samantha in 1993. The children are currently full-time college students.
At the time of the divorce, defendant was employed as a contractor earning $66, 000 per year. Certain ailments prevented him from performing physical labor. In November 2009, defendant began collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the amount of $705 per month. However, he was never determined to be permanently disabled. Instead, his disability status must be reviewed annually.
As of November 3, 2011, defendant owed more than $115, 000 in support arrears. His current obligations are $347 per week in child support for the two children, $200 per week as partial payment of arrears, and $100 per week in alimony, all of which total $647 per week. Defendant is also obligated to pay child support for a child from his second wife in the amount of $305 per week. His rent costs $400 per month.
Defendant filed a motion to terminate his obligation to pay child support and alimony because his disability makes it impossible for him to earn a living and his SSI is insufficient to support himself and also meet his obligations. Defendant further requested emancipation of the children but ultimately he conceded that because the children were full-time students, they were still dependent on him for support. The motion judge, without ordering financial disclosures from the parties, determined that the court could not modify defendant's support obligation because defendant had not established a permanent disability as he was considered only temporarily disabled. However, the ...