WILLIAM H. MONE reports on a recent published decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
A New Jersey mother appealed the denial of her child support enforcement motion, and the Appellate Division remanded the case back to the trial court for a plenary hearing as to the disputed child support arrears owed by the child’s father.
The mother and father were divorced in 2000 in another state. The mother eventually moved to New Jersey with the child, where she registered the child support order with the Court. In 2015, the woman filed an application to enforce the child support order, alleging that the father owed over $30,000 in child support arrears. The father opposed the application, contending that his arrears were closer to $10,000 because he had been making payments directly to the child.
The trial court did not rule on the applications for over a year, but instead encouraged the parties to negotiate a settlement. When the parties’ attorneys failed to respond to the trial court’s phone calls thereafter, the Court issued an Order and Opinion that established a child support arrears repayment schedule and set the father’s arrears at $10,557. The mother appealed.
On appeal, the Appellate Division noted that while the trial court provided a statement of reasons for its decision, the trial judge’s “findings” did not explain why certain alleged child support payments were accepted and others were not. In addition, the Appellate Division held that the parties’ completely contradictory certifications required the trial court to conduct a plenary hearing. The case was remanded back to the trial court for same.
Please contact William H. Mone if you have any questions or need assistance in connection with this subject.