NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court."
Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the
parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3.
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-4719-15T4
LAURICE A. FAHERTY, n/k/a
LAURICE A. GRAE-HAUCK,
SCOTT L. FAHERTY,
Argued August 1, 2017 – Decided December 8, 2017
Before Judges Sabatino and O'Connor.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey,
Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex
County, Docket No. FM-07-0527-13.
Robert H. Siegel argued the cause for
appellant (Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC,
attorneys; Robert H. Siegel, on the brief).
Laurice A. Grae-Hauck, respondent, argued
the cause pro se.
In this post-divorce judgment matrimonial action, defendant
Scott L. Faherty filed a motion to reduce his obligation to pay
child support to plaintiff Laurice Grae-Hauck from $305 per week
to $150 per week. In a June 20, 2016 order, the Family Part
court reduced defendant's child support obligation to $301 per
week. Defendant appeals from that order. We affirm.
The parties were divorced in 2013. Among other things, the
parties' property settlement agreement (PSA) stated that:
plaintiff was designated the primary caretaker of the parties'
one child; defendant was to pay plaintiff $180 per week in child
support, a sum calculated in accordance with the Child Support
Guidelines; for the purpose of calculating child support,
$67,392 in gross annual income was imputed to defendant and
$15,000 was imputed to plaintiff; and plaintiff was entitled to
limited duration alimony, until August 2014.
Expecting the amount he paid in child support would
decrease when plaintiff's alimony expired, in August 2014,
defendant moved to adjust his child support obligation.
However, on September 22, 2014, the court entered an order
increasing defendant's child support obligation from $180 per
week to $305 per week.
In his brief submitted to us, defendant claims the court
did not issue a statement of reasons explaining the bases for
the relief granted in the September 22, 2014 order. However,
the Child Support Guidelines worksheet attached to the order
reveals the court found defendant was or was capable of earning
a gross annual income of $207,064. Similarly, the worksheet
indicates the court found plaintiff was or was capable of
earning $19,916 per year in gross annual income. Defendant did
not challenge the September 22, 2014 order by filing a notice of
appeal, see Rule 2:4-1(a), or a motion for reconsideration, see
In 2015, defendant unsuccessfully moved to reduce his child
support payment on the ground the cost of providing health
insurance for the child had increased. On June 26, 2015, the
court denied such request without prejudice. In the order, the
court stated defendant's application failed because he did not
provide proof health insurance costs had risen. Defendant did
not seek reconsideration of or leave to appeal this
In 2016, defendant moved, among other things, to reduce his
child support payment from $305 to $150 per week. As indicated
in the certification he submitted in support of his motion,
defendant's principal reason was the child support he was paying
did not accurately reflect the cost to provide health insurance
for the child and the number of overnights he had with the
Defendant did not specifically advocate the court attribute
$67,392 in annual income to calculate child support. He merely
mentioned that if his child support obligation were calculated
using current health insurance costs, the correct number of
overnights the child spent in his home, and an annual income of
$67,392 for him and $15,080 for plaintiff, his child support
obligation would be $150 per week.
Just before oral argument on the motion, the court issued a
written tentative decision, see Rule 5:5-4(e). That tentative
decision was replaced by a "revised tentative decision" a day or
so later. In the latter document, the court tentatively decided
defendant's child support obligation should be $301 per week,
just four dollars less than what he had been paying since the
entry of the September 22, 2014 order.1
In the revised tentative decision, the court did not
provide its reasons for rejecting defendant's request to reduce
child support as much as he requested. However, in the June 20,
2016 order, in which the terms of the revised tentative decision
were memorialized, paragraph five of the order states in
The court included other tentative rulings in the revised
tentative decision, but none of these rulings has been
challenged on appeal.
Effective February 9, 2016 – the filing date
of defendant's cross motion, defendant's
child support obligation is $301 [per] week
. . . . Said amount reflects the addition
of the health insurance credit due
defendant. With regard to defendant's
income, the court finds that there is no
reason to depart from the amount imputed to
defendant in the September 22, 2014 Order,
as defendant has claimed to have virtually
the same income in his current application.
On appeal, defendant raised a number of arguments in his
brief but during oral argument, defendant retracted all but one
of these arguments. That argument is as follows.
In his brief, defendant complained the Family Part court
did not provide, as required by Rule 1:6-2(f), a written or oral
statement of reasons explaining its rulings in the September 22,
2014 order. Defendant noted such failure deprived the parties
of learning the court's reasoning for imputing $207,064 in
annual income to defendant at that time.
He further contended the fact the court referenced the
September 22, 2014 order in its June 20, 2016 order entitled him
to appeal the September 22, 2014 order. During oral argument
before us, defendant retracted the latter argument, conceding
the reference to the September 22, 2014 order in the June 20,
2016 order did not toll the time within which to appeal the
4 September 22, 2014 order. But he still sought to have the
Family Part court compelled to explain the basis for imputing
$207,064 in annual income to him at the time it issued the
September 22, 2014 order. He then withdrew any remaining
arguments in his brief.
We decline to remand this matter to the Family Part court
with the direction it now provide the basis for imputing
$207,064 in income to defendant back in September 2014. The
time to appeal the September 22, 2014 order has long expired,
see Rule 2:4-1(a), and that includes any claim the court failed
to provide a statement of reasons as required by Rule 1:6-2(f).
Moreover, defendant appeals from only the June 20, 2016
order; he does not appeal from the September 22, 2014 order.
"It is clear that it is only the orders designated in the notice
of appeal that are subject to the appeal process and review."
W.H. Indus., Inc. v. Fundicao Balancins, Ltda,
397 N.J. Super.
455, 458 (App. Div. 2008) (citing Sikes v. Township of Rockaway,
269 N.J. Super. 463, 465-66 (App. Div.), aff'd o.b.,
138 N.J. 41
Finally, in the June 20, 2016 order, the court does refer
to its prior imputation of $207,064 in annual income to
defendant, but only to note "there is no reason to depart from
the amount imputed to defendant in the September 22, 2014 Order,
as defendant has claimed to have virtually the same income in
his current application." In this context, the court's
reference to the income imputed to defendant in 2014 does not
permit us to review such imputation, a premise even defendant no
longer advocates and has in fact abandoned. In addition, in the
motion he filed that resulted in the entry of the June 20, 2016
order, defendant did not advocate the court alter the $207,064
in annual income imputed to him. However, defendant is not of
course precluded from filing a new motion in the Family Part
should he wish to seek a prospective modification of child
support based on current financial circumstances.