The issue presented here is whether an order in a matrimonial matter which has been reduced to a judgment can be the basis of a motion in aid of litigant's rights under R. 1:10-5.
Defendant argues that it cannot. He states that once a plaintiff/creditor has chosen to reduce a Chancery Division Order to a judgment he has chosen his remedy and cannot thereafter seek that court's aid in enforcing his rights under the order. Plaintiff in that situation has a plain, adequate and complete remedy at law -- he can enforce the judgment by executing upon it.
Defendant argues that this is especially true here where the amount due under the judgment is for past-due legal fees. Here the failure to enforce the judgment under R. 1:10-5 will not result in the creditor becoming a ward of the State as would possibly be the case where the judgment is for amounts due for support or alimony. He argues that if the court grants relief, it will become a mere collection agency for legal fees in a matrimonial action.
N.J.S.A. 2A:16-18 provides:
Every judgment, or order for the payment of money, entered in the superior court, chancery division, from the time of its entry
upon the civil docket, and every decree or order for the payment of money, of the former court of chancery, from the time it was signed, shall have the force, operation and effect of a judgment of the superior court, law division, and execution may issue thereon as in other cases, subject, however, to the provisions of section 2A:16-19 of this title.
N.J.S.A. 2A:16-19 provides:
No such judgment or order of the superior court, chancery division, and no such decree or order of the former court of chancery, shall, as against a person not a party thereto, become a lien or bind any real estate other than that specifically mentioned and described in the judgment, order or decree, or in the complaint, bill of complaint or petition, upon which the same is founded unless such judgment, order or decree is one for the payment of money from 1 person to another and
(1) Unless and until an abstract of such judgment, order or decree shall be entered upon the civil judgment and order docket of the superior court, upon the written request of 1 of the parties thereof, in the manner provided by law for the entry of abstracts of judgments upon said dockets, or
(2) Unless a statement or abstract of such decree was recorded in the office of the former supreme court prior to September ...