Mother Failed to Show a Need For an Increase in Child Support
By Snyder & Sarno on July 14, 2016
In Quainoo v. Antwi, the Appellate Division affirmed a family judge’s decision not to enforce a 2011 order that mandated that the father to pick up the former couples’ three minor children from school. At the time the order was entered, the father had been unemployed, and the mother’s hours as a FedEx driver did not permit her to pick up the children. However, in early 2014, the father began working as a cab driver and stopped picking up the children. As a result, the mother then had to start paying her friend $100 per week to pick up the kids from school.
The mother applied to the Family Part for enforcement of the order compelling the father to pick up the children, and for an increase in child support to offset the costs the mother had incurred when the father failed to do so. The family judge declined to enforce the transportation order and told the mother that she needed to make other arrangements. The judge explained that “[t]here is no enforcement of parenting time. So . . . it’s an unenforceable order.” The judge also denied an increase in child support, concluding that the mother had not demonstrated a need for it. The judge found that the father was making less money than when the order was originally entered and, after doing the calculations, observed that the child support obligation would actually decrease even with the added transportation expenses.
The mother appealed. The Appellate Division held that the family judge did not abuse her discretion by declining to enforce the transportation order, but disagreed with her conclusion that such order was not enforceable. The Appellate Division explained that parenting time orders are enforceable, and noted a 2006 case in which it had affirmed an order requiring the sharing of driving responsibilities to effectuate the other parent’s visitation. However, the Appellate Division was unable to determine whether the judge erred in declining to enforce the order because of the sparse record on appeal. The Appellate Division also agreed with the family judge that the mother had failed to show a need for an increase in child support.
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