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Schwartz v. Sussman

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 26, 2013

AILEEN R. SCHWARTZ, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ALAN SUSSMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted August 6, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Camden County, Docket No. FM-04-1612-97.

Alan Sussman, appellant pro se.

Aileen R. Schwartz, respondent pro se.

Before Judges Lihotz and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Defendant Alan Sussman appeals from the June 15, 2012, order directing that he pay various expenses of the parties' child and setting a new child support obligation. On appeal, defendant claims the motion judge demonstrated racial bias in issuing this order as well as in prior orders; demonstrated an "indifference to due process"; and failed to consider defendant's financial hardship. We have considered these arguments in light of the facts and applicable law and reject them as having no merit.

We glean the following facts from the record. The parties divorced in 1998. They had one child and entered into a consent order in 2003, which resolved custody of the child as well as various support issues. Since then, the parties have returned to court frequently to resolve matters including visitation, child support and payment of child-related expenses.

On June 15, 2012, both parties appeared, self-represented, before the motion judge on plaintiff's motion to enforce prior orders. During oral argument, both parties demonstrated a lack of decorum and respect for the court, interrupting each other and the judge frequently. At one point, after an interruption, the judge instructed defendant to "[l]et me finish before you keep cutting me off." As the judge was speaking, he was interrupted again by defendant, then by plaintiff. After the judge asked the parties again to let him finish, he was interrupted by plaintiff twice. In two pages of transcript, as the judge was attempting to address the issues raised by the parties, he was interrupted by both parties twenty times.

When defendant accused plaintiff of prolonging the litigation because "she doesn't give a darn what the [effects] are on her daughter, " the court cautioned him:

Well, let's not get into the personal part of it. I hear this every time. And you know – you know I don't – I respect both of you all, but to get into this personal, it doesn't move it along.

The parties continued to interrupt the judge until a court officer intervened and told them to speak, "[o]ne at a time." The instruction had no effect, and the parties continued to speak over each other until the court clerk interrupted them and ...


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