MARCI SPIRO VS. SCOTT SPIRO (FM-02-0185-17, BERGEN COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court ."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 APPELLATE DIVISION DOCKET NO. A-3548-19 MARCI SPIRO, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. SCOTT SPIRO, Defendant-Appellant. __________________________ Argued June 9, 2021 – Decided July 16, 2021 Before Judges Alvarez and Geiger. On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, Docket No. FM-02-0185-17. David H. Pikus argued the cause for appellant (Bressler, Amery & Ross, attorneys; David H. Pikus and Ross A. Fox, on the briefs). Ira C. Kaplan argued the cause for respondent. PER CURIAM In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, defendant Scott Spiro appeals from two orders: a December 20, 2019 order denying his motion to reduce alimony and alimony security term life insurance and awarding plaintiff Marci Spiro's counsel fees; and an April 7, 2020 order denying reconsideration and awarding plaintiff counsel fees. We vacate both orders and remand for further proceedings. Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce in 2016, after a thirty-one-year marriage. Defendant is sixty-one years old and is the sole owner and manager of American Asset Sales, LLC (AAS), a fragrance distributor to retailers in the cosmetics industry. Plaintiff was declared disabled as of 2015 and has received Social Security Disability benefits since January 2018. Defendant was ordered to pay plaintiff pendente lite spousal support of $178,343.88 per year effective September 1, 2017. The parties engaged in negotiations that resulted in an April 20, 2018 Property Settlement Agreement (PSA). As part of that process, the parties retained a joint forensic accountant, Carleen Gaskin, CPA, to calculate the amount and duration of alimony. Gaskin calculated the amount of alimony by averaging defendant's income during the previous six years, 2012-2017. The six-year average was $327,442, based on his income of $402,651 in 2012, $321,913 in 2013, $115,901 in 2014, $430,477 A-3548-19 2 in 2015, $399,745 in 2016, and $303,000 in 2017. In contrast, during 2018, plaintiff received gross Social Security disability benefits of $935.60 per month, from which $428.60 was deducted for Medicare premiums and income-related adjustments, yielding net benefits of $507 per month or $6084 per year. The PSA requires defendant to pay plaintiff open durational alimony in the amount of $145,000 per year. The PSA provides that alimony may be "modified or terminated in accordance with New Jersey case and statutory law . . . based upon a significant change in either party's circumstances," including cohabitation and good faith retirement. A dual judgment of divorce (JOD), which incorporated the PSA, was entered on June 7, 2018. As security for the alimony obligation, the PSA also required defendant to maintain term life insurance in the amount of $1,500,000 for the first 5 years, $1,000,000 for the next 5 years, and $500,000 for the next 5 years, naming plaintiff …

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