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Sodora v. Scarpone

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 7, 2013

CAROLYN SODORA, f/k/a CAROLYN SCARPONE, Plaintiff-Respondent/ Cross-Appellant,
v.
SCOTT SCARPONE, Defendant-Appellant/ Cross-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 10, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FM-14-52-09.

Michael P. De Marco argued the cause for appellant/cross-respondent (De Marco & De Marco, attorneys; Mr. De Marco, on the briefs).

Andrea Perry argued the cause for respondent/cross-appellant (Gomperts, Penza & McDermott, LLC, attorneys; Ms. Perry, of counsel and on the briefs).

Before Judges Koblitz and Accurso.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant Scott Scarpone appeals from a June 27, 2012 post-judgment order denying reconsideration of prior orders denying his requests to reduce his alimony and child support obligations and adjust the parenting schedule. His former wife, plaintiff Carolyn Sodora, cross-appeals from the denial of her cross-motion to reduce certain arrearages to judgment and to compel defendant to pay his share of their daughter's childcare costs and his support arrears through probation. We affirm.

The parties were married in 2000 and divorced in 2009. They have a ten-year-old daughter. Defendant is a union carpenter and plaintiff did not work outside the home for most of the parties' marriage. They agreed in the property settlement agreement (PSA) incorporated in their judgment of divorce that defendant would pay plaintiff limited duration alimony for five years of $365 per week and child support of $200 per week commencing upon the sale of the marital home. In the interim, the parties agreed that they would abide by an October 10, 2008 pendente lite order requiring defendant to pay all of plaintiff's schedule A and B expenses with the exception of her cellphone and internet charges, up to $200 per month for fuel and oil for plaintiff's car, and $900 per month in unallocated support.

Defendant filed his first motion to reduce or eliminate his alimony and child support six months after entry of the judgment of divorce, prompting plaintiff's cross-motion to enforce litigant's rights. The parties have engaged in at least five more rounds of motions since then, each seeking basically the same relief. A central problem was that the house did not sell for almost two years. Plaintiff claimed that defendant simply stopped paying unallocated support in January 2010, six months after the divorce, leaving her in difficult financial straits. Plaintiff was arranging to attend school to train as a medical assistant and was without wages to make up the shortfall. Defendant claimed that he could not pay all of the expenses associated with maintaining the marital residence in which plaintiff lived for two years after the divorce, as well as alimony and child support.

Following the third round of motions, the Family Part entered an order on April 27, 2011 denying without prejudice plaintiff's request for $14, 300 in support arrears and defendant's request to reduce his alimony and child support retroactive to a year before the parties' divorce and for credits against his support obligations for monies paid toward plaintiff's schedule A and B expenses. The court also denied defendant's request to reduce the alimony term from five years to two, but allowed defendant relief by modifying the start date of his alimony obligation. Defendant was ordered to continue to pay the costs associated with the house pursuant to the PSA, but those costs would be credited toward his alimony obligation beginning on March 3, 2011, the filing date of his motion.

Following the fourth round of motions, the Family Part entered an order in December 2011, again denying defendant's request for credits against his support obligations, denying without prejudice plaintiff's request for $19, 200 in support arrears but granting her request for reimbursements totaling $7, 093.44 for payments she made toward expenses relating to the house. The court also ordered both parties not to interfere in the other's parenting time or make disparaging comments about the other to their daughter. Both parties were directed to allow daily telephone contact with the child when she was with the other parent and to share transportation equally on all days but for defendant's weekend overnight, when he would be responsible for transportation.

Plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the denial of her motion for support arrears and related relief. Defendant cross-moved, again seeking credits against his support obligations for housing expenses he was previously ordered to pay. Defendant also sought alternate weekend parenting time and again sought to have plaintiff share transportation for his weekend parenting time.

The court granted plaintiff's motion for reconsideration on March 19, 2012, finding it had erred in failing to grant plaintiff's request to find defendant in arrears of his support payments. The court entered an order finding defendant in violation of litigant's rights for his failure to pay support, fixing his arrears at $20, 485 to be paid at a rate of $200 per week through wage garnishment, ordering him to make all ...


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