New Jersey Divorce Motions can take many forms. A Motion is generally filed when a litigant is seeking a specific right, some form of guidance from the Court, or to enforce an already existing right. This blog post will briefly review some of the most common types of Motions filed in connection with New Jersey Divorces or in the New Jersey Family Part in general.
Motion for Pendente Lite Relief
A motion for pendente lite relief is one of the more common and most important types of motions to be filed in New Jersey Divorce Courts. It is important, however, to first note the distinction between pre-judgment and post-judgment actions in New Jersey Divorces.
Prior to the disposition of a case, any support ordered will be subject to the ultimate outcome of the case. Often times, final judgments may be applied retroactively against the pendente lite orders. Pendente lite decisions are, by their very nature, temporary and fleeting. After a judgment, whether it be by Agreement or Court Order, the standard of review for a modification is more stringent.
Pendente lite Motions are particularly important in cases where the parties cannot agree upon a basic support, custody, or overarching framework to be utilized, temporarily, until the final disposition of the case.
For example, one spouse may not exercise any parenting time with the children. That same spouse may also refuse, during the pendente lite phase (a/k/a the period prior to the judgment of divorce/agreement of the parties) to pay child support, or if applicable, alimony. In such an instance, a Motion for Pendente Lite Support may be required. The ability to file a Motion for pendente lite support leads to greater equity and fairness in seeking a divorce.
Post-Judgment Motion to Enforce Litigant’s Rights
These are post-judgment actions filed when one party has not (or has been perceived to have not) been in compliance with the Marital Settlement Agreement or other disposition of the case. If, for instance, the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement states that one party must maintain life insurance for the children, and he or she has failed to do so, then the other party may wish to file a Motion to Enforce Litigant’s Rights.
It is often standard with post-judgment motions to enforce litigant’s rights to request counsel fees for having to expend resources to simply have the other party uphold their end of the bargain.
Motion for Post-Judgment Modification
These Motions can take many forms, and are filed when a subsequent development renders a portion of the parties’ Agreement/Decision unfair or “in question”. Some types of post-judgment modification motions include:
- Motion to reduce alimony and/or child support.
- Motion to increase alimony and/or child support.
- Motion to terminate alimony.
- Motion to emancipate child(ren).
- Motion for a modification of custody or parenting time.
- Motion for a modification of health insurance for the children.
- And on and on.
Motion for Reconsideration
A Motion for Reconsideration is a Motion that is filed when a party believes a Court made a mistake in deciding a Motion. It is different from an appeal in many ways, the most important of which may be the fact that the Motion is filed with the same Court (and same Judge) who made the initial (now contested) Motion Hearing.
Motions for Reconsideration are rare, and are almost universally frowned upon. That said, if the Court happened to make a blatant error, a Motion for Reconisderation can be a valuable tool–both for litigant’s and Court’s alike, who of course also want a fair outcome and seek the proper decision under the law.
New Jersey Family Part Motion practice provides litigant’s with guidance, can lead to a faster settlement, and, when used properly, can be a very useful tool during or after a New Jersey Divorce or other Family Part matter.
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