On appeal from Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County.
Approved for Publication March 8, 1995. Released for Publication May 25, 1995
Before Judges Brody and Long. The opinion of the court was delivered by Long, J.A.D.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Long
In November 1993, plaintiff, Anne Corrente, filed a domestic violence complaint against defendant, John Corrente, from whom she was separated. The complaint stated that defendant called plaintiff "at work threatening drastic measures if plaintiff did not supply defendant with money to pay bills." According to the complaint, there was no history of domestic violence in the relationship. A hearing was held at which both parties presented evidence which established that the parties had married in August 1992 and separated in October 1993 as a result of an argument, the details of which were disputed and which did not play a part in this decision. According to the evidence, during the marriage plaintiff gave defendant $170 per week toward the payment of their expenses.
Plaintiff testified to the basis on which she filed the complaint:
John had called me Tuesday November 9th at my job at T J Maxx in the morning, approximately 10:30 a.m. demanding that I give him the money that I have been giving him every week towards the bills. I told him that I didn't have the whole amount because I have been on my own. He left me a month ago, and he threatened that if I didn't give him the whole amount he would take drastic measure.
When I got home that afternoon the phones were disconnected. I went to my second job, called my mother and told her to call the phone company to see what had happened and she called me back and told me that my sister-in-law had called and canceled my phone with John's authorization in the afternoon and he had canceled the phone.
Q. I see, now this event caused you some annoyance?
Plaintiff testified that defendant called her at work twice a day even though he knew he could contact her at home. She said this made her upset because she could not talk at work, a fact of which defendant was well aware. When he called he would ask her to leave the house or to forward the money owed.
Defendant, on the other hand, testified that he called plaintiff on November 9 to tell her he would be stopping by the house to pick up some clothes and to ask her if she had the money for bills. She told him she had spent it and would not be able to pay him either that money or the money for the following week. He then hung up. He subsequently decided to turn the phone off because he could not afford it. He swore that he did not intend to cause her annoyance and he did not believe or know that turning off the phone would cause her to be alarmed or annoyed. He simply could not afford to pay all the bills due to plaintiff's failure to contribute her share. He stated that when he spoke to her in the morning he had not even thought of turning off the phone. He did not later feel compelled to advise her of ...