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Caravella v. Caravella

Decided: July 13, 1955.

MILDRED CARAVELLA, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PAUL CARAVELLA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Clapp, S.j.a.d.

Clapp

The Essex County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court found that the defendant and plaintiff here, husband and wife, were living apart by consent. Nevertheless it ordered him to pay her a stated amount a week for her support. He appeals.

The issue we deal with principally is whether in a case of a consensual separation, N.J.S.A. 2 A:4-18 gives the court concurrent jurisdiction with the Superior Court to provide for the support of the wife -- a jurisdiction, incidentally, which the Superior Court derives entirely from N.J.S.A. 2 A:34-24. Richman v. Richman , 129 N.J. Eq. 114, 116, 118 (E. & A. 1941). In general see Peff v. Peff , 2 N.J. 513, 525

(1949); cf. Turi v. Turi , 34 N.J. Super. 313, 320 (App. Div. 1955), and cases cited. This question as to the effect of N.J.S.A. 2 A:4-18 was not raised below. But the wife makes no point of that here. Besides, the issue goes to the court's jurisdiction. Morin v. Becker , 6 N.J. 457, 460 (1951).

The stress of the wife's argument is laid upon clause b and the italicized portion of clause c of N.J.S.A. 2 A:4-18:

"The juvenile and domestic relations court shall also have jurisdiction concurrently with such other courts as may have jurisdiction over the matter, to hear and determine in a summary manner disputes and complaints:

a. Involving the domestic relation or the welfare of children, as to which jurisdiction is vested in any court except the superior court or except with respect to the adoption of children or adults.

b. Involving matters of support or temporary custody of children as to which jurisdiction is vested in the superior court.

c. Involving violations of subtitle 12 (disorderly persons law) of this title (§ 2 A:169-1 et seq.), and chapter 1 of Title 44, Poor (§ 44:1-1 et seq.), chapter 6 and chapter 17 of Title 9, Children (§ 9:6-1 et seq., and § 9:17-1 et seq.), and article 4 of chapter 5 of Title 30, Institutions and Agencies (§ 30:5-33 et seq.), of the Revised Statutes, together with any other laws or future enactments covering similar complaints or offenses, where the gravamen of the complaint under such laws or enactments is the failure or neglect of 1 member of the family to satisfy or discharge his legal obligations to another member of the family. [Italics added.]

e. Involving the domestic relation, where a husband or father deserts his wife or child even though they continue to live in the same household, in which case the court may order adequate support of his wife, child or family.

f. Involving the domestic relation, where a husband or father forces his wife or child to leave the home because of his cruel and inhuman conduct, in which case the court may provide by appropriate order for their support and maintenance."

We deal first with the words "matters of support" appearing in clause b. The wife argues that these words apply to the support of wives as well as children and indeed confer upon the court the authority given to the Superior Court by N.J.S.A. 2 A:34-24 to award support in the case of a consensual separation. It might be ...


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