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Andreko v. Wilhelm

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 29, 2013

MARGARET L. ANDREKO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
RICHARD WILHELM, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 9, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FD-12-0974-04.

Richard Wilhelm, appellant pro se.

Respondent has not filed a brief.

Before Judges Ostrer and Hayden.

PER CURIAM

Defendant Richard Wilhelm appeals from a June 27, 2012, order that granted plaintiff's request to enforce, and denied defendant's request to modify, provisions of a previous child support order governing the parties' respective responsibilities for their three children's unreimbursed medical expenses. We remand the matter to the Family Part for further proceedings.

We discern the following from the record. The parties, who never married, are the parents of three sons, Michael, born in 1986; Matthew, born in 1988; and Mark, in 1992. According to a January 3, 2007, child support order, Matthew was emancipated effective November 29, 2006, and child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines continued for the other two children.[1]Defendant also appears to indicate that Michael was emancipated later in 2007, although he does not provide a copy of the order.

On June 22, 2011, plaintiff obtained an order by default requiring defendant to place Michael and Matthew on his health insurance within twenty days "as allowed by his insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Age 26)."[2] The order reflected that defendant did not appear, but left blank the sections of the order for findings regarding "service upon which this order is based" and that he was "properly served to appear for a hearing" on the specific date. There was no explicit mention in the order of either son's prior emancipation. The order required defendant to pay seventy-seven percent of unreimbursed medical expenses for the three sons after plaintiff incurred $250 annually. The order did not clearly specify that the $250 obligation was for each child. See Pressler & Verniero, Current N.J. Court Rules, Appendix IX-A, ¶ 9 (2013).

Defendant asserted that he did not appear for the hearing on that application because he did not receive notice. However, he acknowledged that he was informed of the order in the middle of July 2011. He did not seek to vacate the order, nor did he file an appeal. Instead, he complied by obtaining health insurance for the two children.

In April 2012, defendant received a request from plaintiff seeking payment of his seventy-seven percent share of a $3465.15 unreimbursed balance owed to a hospital that treated Matthew in December 2011. Defendant attempted to contact the hospital to establish a payment plan but was denied information because he did not have authorization from his son to speak to the provider about the account. After defendant failed to reimburse plaintiff for the amount requested, plaintiff filed a motion to compel defendant to pay his seventy-seven percent share of the unreimbursed medical expenses.[3]

Defendant filed a cross-motion to emancipate all three sons, then aged 26, 23 and 20, and to terminate all support responsibilities for them. Defendant also sought an order vacating the June 22, 2011, order pursuant to Rule 4:50-1, based on plaintiff's alleged failure to properly serve him.

However, defendant's cross-motion was filed the day before the return date of plaintiff's motion. Defendant argues he was late ...


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