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Memija v. Papajani

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 30, 2013

ISA MEMIJA, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
KLARIDA PAPAJANI, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted August 20, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, Docket No. FM-02-1236-07.

Klarida Papajani, appellant pro se.

Respondent has not filed a brief.

Before Judges Graves and Simonelli.

PER CURIAM

In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, defendant Klarida Papajani appeals from a June 10, 2011 order, which requires her to contribute $4500 to her former husband's counsel fees, and a subsequent order denying her motion for reconsideration. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

Plaintiff Isa Memija and defendant were married on January 11, 2003, and their judgment of divorce (JOD) is dated December 20, 2007. Two children were born of the marriage, now ages nine and seven. The JOD granted sole custody of the children to defendant. Based on plaintiff's imputed income of $33, 000 per year and defendant's annual income of $40, 508, plaintiff was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $146 per week. On July 26, 2008, the court increased plaintiff's support obligation to $262 per week, based on defendant's representation that she was paying work-related child care in the amount of $300 per week.

In December 2008, defendant sent the children to Albania to reside with her mother. On April 3, 2009, the court denied defendant's request for babysitting expenses because the children were not residing in the United States, and ordered defendant to provide receipts for any expenses she paid for the benefit of the children.[1] The order also stayed plaintiff's child support obligation, and reserved the date for any retroactive modification to March 13, 2009.

Following an accident, plaintiff was found to be disabled by the Social Security Administration, and he began receiving social security disability payments in the amount of $977 per month in November 2009. Defendant also received $472 per month from social security for the benefit of the children. At a status review hearing on June 23, 2010, defendant acknowledged she had received approximately $3600 from social security disability.

On September 10, 2010, plaintiff filed a motion requesting the children be returned to the United States, his child support payments be recalculated based on the social security disability benefits, and any support arrears be vacated. The court entered an order for a plenary hearing on November 15, 2010, and the parties subsequently entered into a consent order, agreeing that the children would return to the United States in August 2011.[2]

The plenary hearing took place on April 6, 21, 26, and May 9, and 16, 2011. During the hearing, plaintiff testified his total monthly income was $977 from social security disability benefits. He itemized his monthly expenses as follows: $400 for rent, $43 for a cellular telephone, approximately $300 for food, $40 in non-prescription drugs, $100 for medical expenses, and $100 on alcohol and tobacco, totaling $983. When questioned about his monthly expenditures, plaintiff testified:

Q. Do you have any monies left over after paying these expenses?
A. No. I have to borrow money until I get . . . another check to keep—catching up with everything I have.
Q. . . . And as far as paying for our counsel fees, you don't have that listed. How have you been able to pay ...

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