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Pezzino v. Pezzino

Decided: May 13, 1964.


The opinion of the court was delivered by Consodine, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).


[83 NJSuper Page 519] The parties here were married on October 28, 1934. Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on April 22, 1952, alleging nonsupport of herself and a daughter, age 16. On June 2, 1952 that court sustained the complaint and directed a weekly payment through the probation department to plaintiff. Thereafter, the amount was alternately increased and diminished.

Defendant left New Jersey on February 11, 1955 and arrived in Reno, Nevada, on February 14, 1955. He remained there until March 4, 1958. At that time he returned to visit his mother, remaining here temporarily because of her illness and permanently when he took over a barber shop in which he had employment.

Defendant instituted a divorce proceeding in Nevada on April 4, 1955, and an ex parte decree was entered on May 6, 1955. While in Nevada for over three years defendant worked at his trade and in other employment, maintained a residence, had car registration and licenses, and was a member of the union. He filed his federal income tax returns in Nexada for the years 1955 to 1958 inclusive. Apparently defendant remarried after the divorce.

On May 17, 1960 plaintiff sued in this court for divorce on the ground of desertion. On June 9, 1960 answer was filed. On direct examination at trial plaintiff voluntarily dismissed this complaint for divorce and "nullifying State of Nevada divorce." The judgment thereon of May 18, 1961 reserved to plaintiff the right to make application for "alimony" on a showing of necessity. Leave to file a supplemental complaint to include a count for separate maintenance was granted in March 1963. Filed in May 1963, it sought that remedy and also divorce on the ground of adultery and a judgment setting aside the Nevada decree of divorce. Issue was joined in June 1963. The case was heard in part in October 1963.

By motion in the cause plaintiff seeks alimony pendente lite. Defendant countermoves the dismissal of the second and third counts of the supplemental complaint on the ground that they are inconsistent with the judgment and the order authorizing the filing of the pleading. They are that and moreover not supplemental. The latter motion must be granted.

A review of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court matter is necessary to complete the picture. There seems to have been a period of inaction between March 17, 1954 and February 23, 1955, at which time defendant was again in

arrears. On that date (12 days after defendant left the State) notices of hearing were mailed to both parties. Defendant did not appear on March 2. A bench warrant issued which was never executed. The court by order closed the case on June 6, 1956 because the bench warrant was recalled by plaintiff.

On May 14, 1956 the daughter of the parties wrote that court seeking the lifting of the bench warrant for two weeks so that her father could attend her wedding in New Jersey. She added that her mother did not wish to dismiss the charges. She was informed that the bench warrant could be recalled only if the defendant fulfilled his duty of support or on formal withdrawal of the charges filed. On June 4, 1956 plaintiff by letter requested the withdrawal of the bench warrant because of the forthcoming marriage, and further stated that since she could not finance the marriage festival defendant would finance it in return for the release of the warrant. The case was closed two days later.

That marriage did not take place. Defendant did not return to New Jersey until March 4, 1958. The daughter subsequently married another. Defendant says he was not invited and did not attend.

At trial on the amended complaint defendant also testified, as plaintiff's witness, that his daughter wrote him about the first forthcoming marriage, requested money, and advised him of the warrant. He also testified that plaintiff then wrote him that the warrant had been recalled. He maintains that he sent $500 to plaintiff for the expenses of the marriage and also paid some bills attendant to the forthcoming festivities. The daughter's testimony corroborated her father's in some regards and lacked knowledge in others. Plaintiff denied that she received any money from defendant after he went to Nevada, except for $10 per week he sent her until their daughter was 18 years of age.

The remaining motion for pendente lite support raises the issue whether this court acting thereon can disregard the sworn testimony of the ...

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