Articles Tagged with procedure

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e3bc10d77963468f2705f7119c049b73-300x199On September 20, 2017 the New Jersey Appellate Division approved a domestic violence case for publication the matter of L.C. v. M.A.J. (A4933-15T2), in which the Appellate Division addressed the use of pre-trial in limine motions, which are pretrial motions commonly used to request the court to make legal determinations about evidence before trial, to seek an eve of trial dismissal of a litigant’s pleadings.

The Plaintiff in this case filed a domestic violence complaint in May, 2016 in which she alleged that the defendant was harassing her by sending communications to her and her employer; the complaint further alleged a history of past domestic violence that included physical abuse and controlling conduct.   At the final hearing, Defendant filed a motion in limine to dismiss that he claimed was based on  Rule 4:6-2(e) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.   His actual pleadings, did not address whether Plaintiff met the elements for a cause of action but asserted that his communications related to parenting issues, not harassment.   The court granted the motion to dismiss the temporary domestic violence restraining order and heard no testimony.

The Appellate Division reversed.  The Appellate Division condemned the use of in limine motions that are dispositive of or seek to terminate an action on the eve of trial.  Instead, an in limine motion at such a late date should only address preliminary or evidentiary issues, and even then such in limine motions are disfavored and should be heard sparingly.  Defendant’s motion did not ask the court to resolve a preliminary or evidence issue, but a sudden and summary dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint, which the Appellate Division found improper, especially in a domestic violence matter where an alleged victim’s safety was at issue.   The Appellate Division stated that in rare cases could a domestic violence case be dismissed before trial, and even then, due process required adequate notice to the plaintiff and an opportunity to respond and file his/her own papers, which Plaintiff in this case did not have an opportunity to do with so little notice.   If Defendant felt that he had grounds for dismissal, he should have instead requested an involuntary dismissal at the close of the plaintiff’s case or at the close of all the evidence.

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When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually tell them I am a “divorce” lawyer.  While much of this firm’s practice is devoted to representing clients either getting divorced, handling issues incident to a divorce, or addressing disputes which may arise post-divorce (i.e. modification, enforcement of obligations and the like), over the years this firm has often been called upon to handle a growing number of disputes between non-married parties.  Among these claims arising from “family-type” relationships are those involving child custody and parenting time, property rights, child support and “palimony”. Hence, it is more accurate to described myself as a “family law” attorney as our firm’s website so references.   Continue reading

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For those of you that have attended Mr. Yudes’ annual ICLE seminar: Family Law Update and/or those of you that have paid close attention to newly published trial court decisions over the past three (3) years will not be surprised to find that the Honorable Lawrence R. Jones, J.S.C., a Superior Court Judge in Ocean County, has issued many trial court level decisions that have become published.  Beginning with Benjamin v. Benjamin, which was decided in October 2012 and was approved for publication in February 2013, Judge Jones has issued a total of nine (9) decisions published decisions. Continue reading

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The Appellate Division recently handed down a clear and unambiguous message to triall courts and litigators alike regarding custody disputes and how they should be handled procedurally, regardless of whether the case is pre- or post-judgment.  The case, entitled D.A. v. R.C., involved the biological parents of a fourteen (14) year old boy each seeking to be designated as the parent of primary residence approximately ten (10) years after entering into a consent order resolving all issues of custody between them.  Continue reading

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Prolific jurist, Honorable Lawrence R. Jones, J.S.C. in the family part in Ocean County, New Jersey, issued another published decision in the matter of J.C. v. M.C., decided on November 6, 2014.  This time, Judge Jones addressed the obligation of a plaintiff seeking a divorce to make a “diligent inquiry” as to the defendant’s whereabouts in order to serve a complaint for divorce when there is an active domestic violence restraining order against the plaintiff. Judge Jones’ decision gave priority to the right of a domestic violence victim to confidentiality of his or her location. Continue reading