Two New Jersey residents were married in Union County, lived there as man and wife for a year and a half and a child was conceived. He deserted her and moved to Texas where he now resides. She then started this separate maintenance action. He was served personally, in Texas, by the local sheriff. The husband, by special appearance, moves to strike the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction over him.
It is fundamental that an order or judgment for the payment of alimony or support is a personal judgment and, as such, mandates in personam jurisdiction over the
paying party. Kase v. Kase , 18 N.J. Super. 12 (App. Div. 1952). The United States Supreme Court has established the guideline in International Shoe Co. v. State of Washington , 326 U.S. 310, 66 S. Ct. 154, 90 L. Ed. 95 (1945).
No reported matrimonial case in New Jersey has faced this issue. In prior cases, factors other than marital residence have been present.
Judge Consodine, in Egbert v. Egbert , 125 N.J. Super. 171 (Ch. Div. 1973), held that in personam jurisdiction was acquired by service on defendant's mother in New Jersey while he was in Florida. However, he was still a New Jersey resident and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court did have personal jurisdiction which, the court held, carried over to the Superior Court action.
In Wright v. Wright , 114 N.J. Super. 439 (Ch. Div. 1971), Judge Hartman found long-arm jurisdiction proper because the nonresident was doing business in New Jersey by writing a newspaper column for a New Jersey paper.
Originally, the concept of long-arm jurisdiction developed in order to obtain jurisdiction over defendants not subject to personal service within the State, so as to afford relief in tort and commercial cases. There is a definite trend towards applying this concept to all types of litigation, including matrimonial and support cases. Note, "Long-Arm Jurisdiction in Alimony and Custody Cases," 73 Colum. L. Rev. 289 (1973).
It is interesting to note that the Texas Court of Civil Appeals, in Fox v. Fox , 526 S.W. 2d 180 (Tex. Civ. App. 1975), decided that New Jersey did acquire in personam jurisdiction by long-arm service in Texas under facts similar
to those involved in this case. The law of New Jersey was carefully reviewed.
Other reported decisions also support the holding that the spouse remaining in the state of marital residence may acquire in personam jurisdiction over the departed spouse by long-arm service. Nickerson v. Nickerson , 25 Ariz. App. 251, 542 P. 2d 1131 (1975); Pinebrook v. Pinebrook , 329 So. 2d 343 (Fla. D. Ct. App. 1976); Mizner v. Mizner , 84 N.W. 268, 439 P. 2d 679 (1968), cert. den., 393 U.S. 847, 89 S. Ct. 130, 21 L. Ed. 2d 117 reh. den., 393 U.S. 972, 89 S. Ct. 391, 21 L. Ed. 2d 386 (1968); Bouchard v. Klepacki , 357 A.2d 463 (N.H. Sup. Ct. ...