Alimony & Spousal Support

No Discovery in a Post Judgment Family Law Dispute Without a Meaningful Change in Circumstances

In the New Jersey post judgment family law litigation matter of Bonfrancesco vs. Bonfrancesco, 20-2-3434, the plaintiff appealed an order of the Family Part, arguing that the motion judge erred by: (1) refusing to compel defendant to produce her income tax returns for three years ;(2) permitting discovery concerning his retirement benefits;(3) suggesting that defendant would be the sole beneficiary on his life insurance policy after A.B., the parties’ child, is emancipated: (4) awarding defendant $750 in attorney’s fees; and (5) ordering him to pay for A.B.’s dental night guard. The panel affirmed, finding, inter alia, that the record failed to demonstrate that the circumstances that prevailed when the parties entered in the property settlement agreement had changed in any meaningful manner and, therefore, the judge properly determined that discovery concerning defendant’s employment and financial status was not warranted; the judge did not err in permitting discovery regarding whether plaintiff was receiving military retirement benefits or disability benefits which are not subject to equitable distribution since prior court orders did not preclude further litigation on the question; the award of attorney fees was not an abuse of discretion since plaintiff obtained no relief in his reconsideration motion and defendant was forced to incur the expense of having her attorney respond to the motion and plaintiff had the greater ability to pay defendant’s attorney’s fees.

Reference: Case and Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal (April 14, 2014)

Filed Under: Family Law; Family Law Litigation; Family Law Discovery

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