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Marussich v. Marussich

Decided: December 6, 1985.

VIRGINIA MARUSSICH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES MARUSSICH, DEFENDANT



Sorkow, J.s.c.

Sorkow

The facts of this case confirm the efficacy of the recent consolidation of the several courts that formerly had jurisdiction over family issues into a unified Family Division.

Plaintiff's application seeks to obtain consolidation of plaintiff's dissolution action with a case pending on this court's paternity calendar and vacation of certain default judgments entered in the latter proceeding.

The parties to the dissolution proceedings, Virginia and James, were married in 1964. Three children were born of the marriage. The parties have not lived together since May 1984.

It appears that James was earlier named as the putative father and defendant in a paternity action commenced by Linda Manhart in May 1984. Prior thereto in 1983, the common defendant, James Marussich, apparently acknowledged paternity in a contract for support of a child born to Linda Manhart.

Service of the paternity complaint was made pursuant to R. 4:4-4(a). It was Virginia Marussich who accepted service for her husband in May 1984. This was her first knowledge of defendant's marital transgression. Shortly thereafter, she began her dissolution proceeding.

A pendente lite support order in the dissolution proceeding called for defendant-father to pay $375 a month for three children. Alimony was not awarded.

As a result of the agreement between the putative father and the mother of the child born out of wedlock in December 1984, an order of support for said child in the sum of $500 a month was entered. The paternity trial judge was not informed of the existence of Mr. Marussich's family of three children.

Several default judgments against the obligor in the paternity action were obtained by Linda Manhart. They, of course, create liens against defendant's interest in the marital home owned as tenants by the entirety.

Linda Manhart seeks to intervene in the dissolution action. Virginia Marussich seeks to set aside and cause to be vacated the default judgments entered against her husband in the paternity proceeding.

The first issue to be addressed by this court is whether the paternity suit instituted by Linda Manhart against James Marussich and the complaint for divorce instituted by Virginia ...


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