Monday, May 11, 2015
Post-Judgment Relief Repeatedly Denied
In Walsh v. Walsh, a post-judgment modification case out of Morris County, the Defendant appealed from three (3) prior Court Orders that directed him to (1) liquidate his assets to pay a money judgment and finding that he failed to fully disclose financial information; (2) denied his relief to pay alimony and other fees; (3) granting the Plaintiff's Motion for enforcement of prior Orders. The parties in this case were married in 1976 and formally divorced in 2003. Their final divorce judgment has been the subject of multiple Motions and appeals. In 2008, the Defendant appealed an Order that modified his alimony obligation and denied his request to recuse the Family Court judge. The Appellate Division reversed and remanded the alimony Order but denied the recusal request. In 2011, the Defendant submitted an application for a reconsideration of the previous Order because he disagreed with the retroactive date that the alimony modification was set to. The court denied all of the relief sought. In 2013, the Defendant filed another Motion for relief from the prior three (3) Orders and the court denied the Defendant's Motion. In 2012, the Plaintiff filed a Motion in aid of litigant's rights to enforce outstanding judgments against the Defendant. In 2013, the court directed the Defendant to liquidate some of his assets to satisfy the money judgments against him. The Defendant filed a Motion for reconsideration which was denied. A subsequent Motion to reconsider the reconsideration was also denied. The Defendant appealed and argued that the court abused its discretion by denying him relief from all of his previous Motions under N.J. Court Rule 4:50-1(f) and N.J. Court Rule 1:7-4(a). The Appellate Division affirmed all of the prior Family Court decisions holding that the Defendant was barred from relief under res judicata. The doctrine of res judicata prevents the repeated litigation of an issue that has been fully and fairly litigated provided that there is 1) a final judgment by a court or competent jurisdiction, 2) identity of issues, 3) identity of parties and 4) identity of the cause of action. Selective Ins. v. McAllister, 327 N.J. Super. 168, 172-73 (App. Div), certif. denied, 164 N.J. 188 (2000). In this case, the Defendant clearly sought to re-litigate issues from previous Court Orders which were affirmed or dismissed on appeal. The repetitiveness of the Defendant's Motions were underscored by his continued reassertion of issues and allegations after the court had ruled on them. The court cannot permit frivolous matters which are fueled by personal revenge to deplete judicial resources. Kozak v. Kozak, 280 N.J. Super. 272, 278 (Ch. Div. 1994), certif. denied, 151 N.J. 73 (1997). Therefore, the Appellate court affirmed the decisions of Family Court. If you anticipate that you may want to petition the court for a post-judgment modification of your divorce judgment it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about post-judgment modification, alimony, child support, parenting time, divorce, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice of an attorney.