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Case Law Review for the Week of May 5, 2014

Nadhir v. Nadhir, Appellate Division, May 7, 2014 (Unreported Decision): In this action, the Defendant sought appeal of the trial court's denial of his application to declare his marriage void as a matter of law based upon the fact that the Plaintiff had fraudulently signed Defendant's name to the marriage license in 1983. Of particular factual importance, the Defendant had participated in obtaining the license, had participated in a religious ceremony, had discovered the fraud in 1984, and had held himself out as the husband of the Plaintiff until the Complaint for Divorce was filed in 2012. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's denial of the Defendant's application finding that (a) the applicable statutes did not render the marriage void as a matter of law, (b) the Defendant was estopped from making the claim, and (c) that the doctrine of laches applied.

Earnest v. Bedilion, Appellate Division, May 9, 2014 (Unreported Decision): In this action, the appellate division reviewed two aspects of the trial court's ruling which were being appealed. As to the issue regarding changed circumstances effecting the payment of child support, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's decision. However, the Appellate Division reversed the trial court's ruling which subjected the Defendant's future applications for a reduction of child support to be screened (which was based upon the fact that he had filed repetitive motions for a reduction in support) citing the following relevant case law: there are "two circumstantial categories of enjoinable litigation." D'Amore v. D'Amore, 186 N.J. Super. 525, 530 (App. Div. 1982) "The first includes attempts to litigate claims despite their preclusion by such legal doctrines as res judicata. The second includes claims[,] which are already pending or are about to be instituted in another forum whose jurisdiction . . . is superior or prior." Id. Accordingly, we determined "it is only prospective litigation of specifically identified claims which is susceptible to restraint, and then, only after those claims have been determined to fall within one of the recognized categories of objective harassment." Id. "Before any prior restraint on access can be considered, the use of litigation to harass must be first objectively determinable." Parish v. Parish, 412 N.J. Super. 39, 49 (App. Div. 2010).

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