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K.H. v. R.H.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 13, 2013

K.H., Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
R.H., Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued October 29, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County, Docket No. FM-13-1844-07B.

Steven M. Resnick argued the cause for appellant (Budd Larner, attorneys; Mr. Resnick, on the brief).

Patrick M. Durning argued the cause for respondent.

Before Judges Reisner and Alvarez.

PER CURIAM

This post-judgment matrimonial appeal arises from a dispute between defendant (father) and plaintiff (mother) over their child, who is now ten years old.[1] Consistent with their matrimonial settlement agreement (MSA), the parties share legal custody but plaintiff is the parent of primary residence. Defendant appeals from two Family Part orders dated February 8, 2013. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and remand in part.

Two of the issues defendant raises on this appeal – objecting to the child's attending a parochial school, and objecting to plaintiff arranging for her parents to care for the child after school instead of enrolling her in daycare – were decided by another Family Part judge in 2008. Defendant did not appeal from either of the April 17, 2008 orders, which were each supported by a cogent written statement of reasons. We conclude that the motion judge who issued the February 8, 2013 orders (the motion judge) properly rejected defendant's attempt to re-litigate those issues.

With one notable exception, defendant's remaining issues, which largely concern unsubstantiated caveats about plaintiff's parenting style, were correctly handled by the motion judge in his oral opinion of February 8, 2013.[2] Defendant's appellate arguments about those issues are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). However, we remand for the limited purpose of reconsidering the issue of visitation.

I

By way of background, the parties were married in 2000. Their child was born in 2003. The parties were divorced in 2007. At that time, the child was four years old. The parties were living in Monmouth County but defendant was considering relocating to New York City. Plaintiff was supporting the family, while defendant was unemployed. The parties' MSA was incorporated in the dual judgment of divorce dated December 18, 2007. In pertinent part, Article III of the MSA set forth very specific provisions for child custody and visitation.

3.1 The parties shall have joint legal custody of the one (1) child born of the marriage; . . . with the Wife as parent of primary residence and the Husband as parent of alternate residence.
3.2 The Husband may decide to remain in New Jersey or he may relocate to New York City. It shall make no difference, for purposes of this Agreement, where the Husband shall reside, as his parenting time shall remain the same whether he lives in New Jersey or New York. The husband ...

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