Monday, June 15, 2015
Child Support Award Affirmed In Deference To Trial Court
Kummarapurugo v. Thota, is a post-judgment matrimonial action wherein the Plaintiff appealed from a Family Court Order, issued in 2014 that recalculated his child support obligation to $272 per week, arguing that the court was mistaken in its calculation. The Family Court is afforded substantial discretion to determine child support awards and other support obligations. Foust v. Glaser, 340 N.J. Super. 312, 315 (App. Div. 2001). A child support order is always "subject to review and modification on a showing of changed circumstances." Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 146 (1980). "If consistent with the law, such an award will not be disturbed unless it is manifestly unreasonable, arbitrary, or clearly contrary to reason or to other evidence, or the result of whim or caprice." Foust, supra, 340 N.J. Super. at 315-16. "When reviewing decisions granting or denying applications to modify child support, we examine whether, given the facts, the trial judge abused his or her discretion." J.B. v. W.B., 215 N.J. 305, 325-26 (2013). The Plaintiff argued that the Family Court's determination of his child support obligation was unfair as modified because the court failed to consider the appropriate child support guidelines factors. The Defendant claimed that the judge made sufficient findings of fact to justify the support award. The Appellate Court agreed with the Defendant and affirmed the decision of the Family Court. In this case, the Appellate Court found that although the Family Court judge's findings were not a "paradigm of the findings required by N.J.C.R. 1:7-4," the facts on the record were sufficient to support the child support award. Further, the Family Court judge appropriately addressed the recalculation of child support through the application of the statutory factors. If you believe that a post-judgment modification to your child support obligation may be beneficial to you it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about post-judgment modification, child support, child relocation, child custody, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice if an attorney.