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Compton v. Compton

Decided: January 22, 1970.

GERALDINE COMPTON, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CHARLES COMPTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Kilkenny, Labrecque and Leonard. The opinion of the court was delivered by Leonard, J.A.D.

Leonard

Defendant husband appeals from a judgment entered in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court which mandated him to pay weekly support and maintenance to plaintiff, his wife.

[Review of the facts omitted for purposes of publication.]

On March 25, 1969 she filed her complaint in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court seeking support and maintenance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:4-18(f). Following a hearing the court entered an order dated April 25, 1969 directing defendant to pay the sum of $20 per week for the

support and maintenance of his wife and additionally to pay "extraordinary medical and dental expenses." Originally, defendant appealed from the whole of that judgment. However, at oral argument, counsel for both parties agreed that plaintiff's child has been born and the original order has been modified by an order dated October 31, 1969. The latter requires defendant to pay $15 per week for the support and maintenance of his wife, $10 per week for the child and "extraordinary medical and dental expenses." We were advised by defendant that he has abandoned his appeal from the order of April 25, 1969, and is presently appealing only from that portion of the October 31, 1969 order which provides for support payments to his wife. Plaintiff consents to this change.

Defendant contends that the trial court erred in ordering support payments to the wife because she did not prove that she left the marital premises because of defendant's "cruel and inhuman conduct." He argues that the words "cruel and inhuman conduct," as used in N.J.S.A. 2A:4-18(f), are to be construed to be synonymous with the extreme cruelty necessary to be established as a ground for divorce (N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(c)) or for a judgment of separate maintenance based upon a husband's constructive abandonment (N.J.S.A. 2A:34-24).

N.J.S.A. 2A:4-18, in its pertinent parts, provides as follows:

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:

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.

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is a statutory court whose jurisdiction is strictly limited to the subject matter set forth in the statute. Amadeo v. Amadeo , ...


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