Affirmed: Several Post Judgment Orders From 38 Post Judgment Motions Filed by Plaintiff, Often Requesting the Same Relief
Docket No. A-5359-18
Decided March 3, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished decision the Appellate Division affirmed several post judgment orders resulting from 38 post judgment motions filed by plaintiff, often requesting the same relief.
In S.M., The parties, who divorced in 2014, have an eleven-year-old special needs child. Since 2014, plaintiff S.M. has filed thirty-eight motions, including not only for reconsideration, but reconsideration of reconsideration motions. The parties currently operate under a consent agreement, and subsequent enforcement orders, allowing defendant J.T. parenting time one overnight midweek and alternating weekends. In two separate filings, which we consolidate for decision, plaintiff appeals a June 25, 2019 order and 2020 orders issued on June 12, July 24, September 29, and November 13.
The parties’ child suffers from cerebral palsy, epileptic seizures, and behavioral issues doubtlessly exacerbated by continuous litigation between two loving parents. The record suggests the disputes may be attributable to the parties having quite different parenting styles.
Plaintiff’s parenting style was described by the parenting coordinator as exact, precise, high standard, thorough research, and any slight disagreement results in voluminous ceaseless emails. Plaintiff has twice contacted the Division of Child Protection and Permanency claiming that defendant posed a risk of harm to her child. Neither referral resulted in a finding that defendant had been negligent or abusive in any way. In fact, the second referral caused the agency to express some concern that plaintiff’s hyper focus on the child’s medical needs could potentially harm the child’s well-being.
For his part, defendant tends to minimize the child’s medical and educational needs, and has not paid his full share of the costs either of the court- appointed parenting coordinator or the guardian ad litem, both of whom are owed thousands of dollars. Defendant believes plaintiff is motivated by a desire to end his parenting time entirely, or at least to interfere with and control it.
Plaintiff’s motions were each denied and often oral argument was not entertained. Plaintiff appealed and the Appellate Division affirmed, finding that the Court has discretion to, not automatically deny a motion, but after reviewing a motion deny it without oral argument. This is allowed to limit or prohibit possible harassing and needless filings.
This case is important to understand the Court has some discretion in denying motions without even a need to respond. However, most times the motion, even if it is repetitive and possibly harassing, still requires a written response. Otherwise, the Judge may rule for the party and against you for failing to submit a timely response.
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