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Werosta v. Werosta

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

November 19, 2013

JOANN K. WEROSTA, n/k/a JOANN K. KARNAVAS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KARL R. WEROSTA, Defendant-Respondent

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 23, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Mercer County, Docket No. FM-11-445-06.

Hartman Group, L.L.C., attorneys for appellant (Frances A. Hartman, on the brief).

Archer & Greiner, P.C., attorneys for respondent (Jennie A. Owens, on the brief).

Before Judges Yannotti and Leone.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Joann K. Karnavas (formerly Werosta) attempts to appeal from a number of orders entered in litigation with defendant Karl R. Werosta following their judgment of divorce. We dismiss her appeal of most of those orders as untimely, and we affirm the order she has timely appealed.

I.

This is the second time these parties have been before us. Our opinion in the first appeal relates the prior procedural history. Werosta v. Werosta, No. A-0545-10 (App. Div. August 18, 2011) (slip op. at 2-6). On April 26, 2010, defendant brought a motion to reduce child support. This resulted in orders dated June 4 and 14, 2010, reducing defendant's child support payments from $605 to $281 per week effective April 26, 2010. Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration that was denied by an August 16, 2010 order, which she appealed. Because the merits of her reconsideration motion were closely intertwined with the merits of the June orders, we reviewed the June 2010 orders as well. Id. at 7 (citing Fusco v. Bd. of Educ. of Newark, 349 N.J.Super. 455, 461 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 174 N.J. 544 (2002)). We reversed because the reduced child support had been calculated based on an income figure for defendant that was below his actual 2009 income of at least $182, 741, and because the judge lacked proper financial information from plaintiff. We remanded to recalculate child support, and to reconsider the $2, 000 in attorney's fees awarded to defendant. On remand, each party submitted an updated Case Information Statement (CIS) and certifications concerning child support issues.

On December 2, 2011, after hearing argument, the judge entered the first order challenged in this appeal. The order calculated defendant's child support obligation separately for two time periods ("stages"). The judge calculated child support for "stage one" - from April 26, 2010, through June 30, 2011, when defendant's alimony obligation ended to be $430 per week, based on defendant's 2009 gross income of $198, 302 and plaintiff's imputed income of about $27, 000. The judge next calculated child support for "stage two" - from July 1, 2011, through December 2, 2011 - to be $799 per week, based on defendant's 2010 gross income of $191, 212, plaintiff's imputed income of about $27, 000, and imputed child care costs that would be incurred to earn the imputed income. The judge ordered defendant to pay plaintiff arrears of $9, 089 for stage one and $13, 468 arrears for stage two, and reduced the attorney's fees award to $1, 000.

By letter, defendant's counsel pointed out that the imputed child care costs had not been properly inputted into the child support guidelines for stage two. The judge agreed and issued an amended order dated December 12, 2011, recalculating the child support for stage two at $521 per week, and the arrears for stage two at $6, 240. On December 28, 2011, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the December orders. Defendant filed a cross-motion.

On February 17, 2012, the judge heard argument on the reconsideration motions, and entered an order granting plaintiff's request to consider the imputed child care costs in calculating child support for stage one as well as stage two. The judge denied the remainder of her motion to reconsider. The judge granted defendant's cross-motion and allowed him an "other dependent deduction" for his child by his new wife. The judge ordered both parties to submit revised child support calculations.

On March 16, 2012, the judge issued an amended order recalculating stage one child support at $377 per week, and stage one arrears at $5, 169.30. The judge also recalculated stage two child support at $503 per week, and stage two arrears at $5, 772. The judge added a $1, 847 undercharge to those arrears, and subtracted the $10, 000 in arrears defendant had already paid, the $1, 000 in attorney's fees, and a $2, 400 credit. The judge thus ordered plaintiff to repay defendant ...


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