NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued January 23, 2013.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cape May County, Docket No. FM-05-00307-09.
Stanley L. Bergman, Jr. argued the cause for appellant.
Lisa M. Radell argued the cause for respondent.
Before Judges Lihotz and Kennedy.
Defendant appeals from a Family Part order requiring him to contribute to the college expenses of his youngest daughter and to "bring current his one-half share of [her] college tuition" within sixty days. Defendant argues that the judge erred by deciding the motion without affording the parties oral argument or a plenary hearing on "factual disputes" raised in their "conflicting certifications." Defendant also argues that the judge failed to make "appropriate findings of fact" and erred in awarding counsel fees. Having considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable law, we affirm.
We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.
Plaintiff and defendant were married on September 30, 1984, and two daughters were born of the marriage: the first in 1986, and the second in 1992. The marriage was dissolved by a judgment of divorce entered on December 29, 2009. The judgment incorporated the terms of a matrimonial settlement agreement (MSA) the parties had earlier negotiated and executed.
The MSA stated that the parties intended their agreement "to resolve all issues of asset exemption, asset division and liability, . . . parenting and child support issues . . ., issues of spousal support and all other matters relating to the rights, obligations, responsibilities or entitlements which arise from the marital relationship." Both parties waived all claims for alimony and acknowledged that plaintiff earned approximately $59, 400 per year and defendant earned approximately $37, 500 per year at the time of the judgment of divorce.
Further, the MSA acknowledged that the older daughter resided with defendant and the younger daughter resided with plaintiff, and that "neither [party] shall pay child support to the other." Nonetheless, the MSA stated that within eighteen months the older daughter "is going to be emancipated" because she will no longer be a full-time college student, and that such emancipation would constitute a "substantial change in circumstances" under Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139 (1980), obligating the parties to "recalculate child support" for the younger daughter.
Moreover, in paragraph 4.5 the MSA addressed "post high school education" expenses of the ...