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Freeman v. Freeman

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 18, 2013

VICTORIA FREEMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SCOTT FREEMAN, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 7, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cape May County, Docket No. FM-05-0360-97.

Victoria Freeman, appellant pro se.

Cynthia Ann Brassington, attorney for respondent.

Before Judges Harris and Kennedy.

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff appeals from two Family Part orders. On October 15, 2012, the Family Part denied her motion for reconsideration of an order entered on September 6, 2012. That order, in turn, granted, in part, plaintiff's motion to compel defendant to pay seventy percent of the college costs of the parties' son, but granted, as well, defendant's cross-motion to "recalculate" child support and vacated defendant's obligation to continue to pay child support to plaintiff. Plaintiff argues the motion court erred in deciding the motions without oral argument or a plenary hearing, and failed to provide "any specific reason" for the decision.

We agree that the motion judge failed to make the required findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of his initial order of September 6, 2012. Accordingly, we remand this matter to the motion judge to set forth his findings and conclusions as required by R. 1:7-4. In the event the motion judge, upon reflection, determines that a plenary hearing is necessary to resolve these issues, he may enter an appropriate order vacating his prior orders and setting the matter down for a hearing.

I.

We set forth the facts appearing in the record, but forego recounting much of the acrimonious history between the parties.

The parties were married in 1987 and divorced in 1997 in Nevada. Two children were born of the marriage: a daughter in 1989 and a son in 1992. Plaintiff moved with the children to New Jersey, where on April 1, 1998, the Family Part issued a "[f]inal [j]udgment in resolution of collateral issues" that, among other things, gave physical custody of the children to plaintiff, required defendant to provide child support, and acknowledged that the parties intended "to afford their children a college education" and "shall consult and agree as to [their] proportionate financial responsibility" for the costs.

In 2008, defendant agreed to pay seventy percent of the college costs of the daughter, net of loans, grants and other aid. Unbeknownst to defendant, however, plaintiff did not enroll the daughter in a college, but, rather, a technical school. Also, defendant learned that his daughter was not living at home, despite his continued payment of child support on her behalf to plaintiff. Thereafter, the Family Part deemed her emancipated and reduced defendant's child support obligation to $343 per week for the son only.

The parties' son began attending a community college in September 2010, and defendant paid seventy percent of the costs associated with his attendance, including tuition, books, fees and other expenses. After completing many credits at the community college, the son was admitted to a State college ...


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