On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Sussex County.
Dreier, D'Annunzio and Wefing. The opinion of the court was delivered by Dreier, J.A.D.
Defendant appeals from an order reviving and consolidating two earlier judgments that plaintiff had obtained against defendant, her former husband. The first judgment, entered June 3, 1982, was for a portion of proceeds from a pending legal action made payable to her pursuant to their property settlement agreement. The second was a December 1, 1982 judgment for support arrearages. Plaintiff was forced to obtain this revived judgment so that it could be entered in Florida which, according to the affidavit of plaintiff's Florida attorney, permits "enforcement of Foreign Judgments only within five (5) years of the Judgment's original rendering." Florida Statutes 55.509 and 95.11.
On notice to defendant, plaintiff successfully moved for an order entering the new judgment. Defendant contends that from a time shortly after the entry of the original judgment he has been a resident of the State of Florida and has had no substantial contacts with New Jersey since that time. Plaintiff does not dispute this fact, but asserts that the original jurisdiction obtained over defendant is sufficient to warrant the entry of the new judgment. N.J.S.A. 2A:14-5 provides in part:
A judgment in any court of record in this state may be revived by proper proceedings. . . within 20 years next after the date thereof, but not thereafter. . . . [Emphasis supplied].
The issue in this case is what are "proper proceedings." The source statute for N.J.S.A. 2A:14-5 is C.S. Limitations of Actions, p. 3166 § 7, Rev. 1877, p. 595, which stated:
That judgments in any court of record of this state may be revived by scire facias. . . within twenty years next after the date of such judgment, and not after . . .
This language was carried with some minor changes into R.S. 2:24-6, and then into the present statute.
The scire facias proceeding is noted in Blacks Law Dictionary 1208 (5th Ed.1979) as:
A judicial writ, founded upon some matter of record, such as a judgment or recognizance and requiring the person against whom it is brought to show cause why the party bringing it should not have advantage of such record. . . . The most common application of this writ is a process to revive a judgment, after the lapse of a certain time, or on a change of parties, or otherwise to have execution of the judgment, in which cases it is merely a continuation of the original action.
The writ or proceeding is further explained in Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage 491 (1987), using as an example the very problem facing this court:
Scire facias, literally 'you should cause to know,' is the Latinism that has given its name to the judicial writ founded upon a matter of record requiring the person against whom it is issued to show cause why the record should not be [enforced]. E.g., 'scire facias to revive a judgment being a continuation of the suit, jurisdiction thereon is in the court where the ...