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Garden State Anesthesia - Raritan Bay v. Sibilly

Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer

October 23, 2018

GARDEN STATE ANESTHESIA - RARITAN BAY, Plaintiff,
v.
KETTY SIBILLY, Defendant.

          Decided: July 27, 2017

          Raymond Meisenbacher, attorney for plaintiff (Raymond Meisenbacher and Sons, PC, attorneys).

          Ketty Sibilly, defendant, pro se.

          ANKLOWITZ, J.S.C.

         The legal issue here is whether child support is exempt from levy, attachment and execution on a money judgment against a parent.

         Plaintiff filed a complaint for an unpaid medical bill on April 7, 2011. Judgment was entered by default on June 7, 2017, in the amount of $1871.64 plus costs and statutory attorney's fees. N.J.S.A. 22A:2-42. On April 14, 2017, a Writ of Execution Against Goods and Chattels was issued. The Writ gave credit for payments made and showed a total balance due in the amount of$l, 653.38.

         On June 9, 2017, a court officer levied on an account of defendant at JP Morgan Chase. The court officer gave notice of the levy by affidavit. Plaintiff filed a motion for turnover of funds on June 27, 2017. On June 30, 2017, defendant filed an objection to the levy. The parties are thus joined in opposition to each other's positions.

         On July 27, 2017, defendant testified that her supporting documents were sent to plaintiffs counsel on July 20, 2017. Notice was given to plaintiffs counsel of the hearing, and plaintiff waived its appearance as is permitted under Rule 4:59-1(e).

         No statute expressly covers child support as a basis for an objection to a levy, but an analysis of the relevant law warrants a conclusion that child support cannot be the subject of a levy from an ordinary money judgment against a parent.

         The law on enforcing judgments makes only a judgment debtor liable. N.J.S.A. 2A: 17-15, 16, 17, and 18. Unless there is some exception, like an amercement action, N.J.S.A. 2A: 18-29 and N.J.S.A. 40A:9-109, or an action against an employer that refuses to implement a wage garnishment, N.J.S.A. 2A: 17-64, the judgment can only be enforced against the judgment debtor and not the debtor's children, friends or others.

         "The right to child support belongs to the child and cannot be waived by the custodial parent." Pascale v. Pascale, 140 N.J. 583, 591 (1995) (internal citations omitted). If a parent receives child support for his or her child the money belongs to the child and cannot be used to satisfy a judgment against the parent. Courts have traditionally taken a parens patriae role in protecting the best interest of the child on issues of child support. Fahertv v. Fahertv, 97 N.J. 99, 110(1984).

         The Legislature has expressed the intent to enforce child support orders. For example, wage garnishments served on an employer for child support take super priority over money judgments. N.J.S.A. 2A: 17-52. In addition, N.J.S.A. 2A: 17-56.8 provides a host of enforcement mechanisms for child support.

         Parents are entitled to the "services and earnings" of their children. N.J.S.A. 9:1-1. Child support is typically paid by the other parent from the other parent's services and earnings. In this case the child support order shows the calculation of child support was based on each parent's earnings.

         When an adult parent enters into a contract, the contract is ordinarily enforceable like any other contract entered into by an adult. Allgor v. Travelers Ins. Co., 280 N.J.Super. 254, 262 (App. Div. 1995). A contract entered into by a minor is not ordinarily enforceable because a minor can disaffirm the contract. Ibid. However, a minor that enters into a contract for ...


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