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Plank v. Plank

February 22, 1990

PHILIP B. PLANK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEANNE WILSON PLANK, DEFENDANT



Harris, J.s.c.

Harris

Preface.

Do not put me to 't,

For I am nothing if not critical.

Othello.

Introduction.

Everyone knows that the rules of court must be construed "to secure a just determination, simplicity in procedure, fairness in administration and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay." R. 1:1-2. Rules of procedure are, however,

Not simply a minuet scored for lawyers to prance through on pain of losing the dance contest should they trip. Those Rules have a purpose, one of which is to assist in the processing of the increasing number and complexity of cases . . . .

[ Stone v. Old Bridge Tp., 111 N.J. 110, 125, 543 A.2d 431 (1988) (Clifford, J., dissenting)].

In this action, defendant seeks reconsideration of her application -- made at trial -- to allow the presentation of evidence which would permit her to resume her maiden name pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-21.*fn1 This rather ordinary and pedestrian request was denied by the court at the hearing on January 11, 1990 which ultimately resulted in the entry of an uncontested judgment of divorce. The court has carefully reviewed its prior determination in light of Rs. 1:1-2, 4:9-1, -2, 4:42-6, and 5:4-2(e). On pain of further criticism of the court's nit-picking, I conclude that the motion for reconsideration must be denied and the relief rejected anew, without prejudice. In the interest of justice, however, relief by an alternate mode shall be granted.*fn2

Procedural Posture of the Action and the Factual Background.

As the first movement in this orchestrated divorce proceeding, plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce on November 28, 1989. Plaintiff sought dissolution of a 19-year marriage on the ground of desertion, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(b). The complaint alleges that on October 16, 1989, plaintiff and defendant executed a property settlement agreement which consensually resolved their disputes regarding support, maintenance, custody, equitable distribution, and the myriad other issues ...


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