Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Passaic
Approved for Publication July 21, 2014.
Marlene Leggio, plaintiff, Pro se.
[436 N.J.Super. 642] CIVIL ACTION
PROCEDURAL HISTORY & FACTUAL FINDINGS
This is a pro se motion for a name change filed by plaintiff on March 8, 2014. No opposition was filed by the defendant. As part of plaintiff's submission she had provided a copy of a dual judgment of divorce from bed and board, which was granted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-3. Plaintiff and defendant were married on July 11, 1958, and thereafter sought a divorce from bed and board. Both parties were represented by counsel.
The dual judgment of divorce from bed and board was entered on July 15, 2004.
A review of court records does not show any action taken by either party since entry of the judgment. There is no record of a revocation or suspension of the limited judgment of divorce nor of an absolute divorce being entered.
It has been said that the closest analogy to a " legal separation" is a divorce from bed and board. The New Jersey Family Law Practice series at section 2.6 notes that a limited divorce has, historically, been known " as a divorce a mensa et thoro, or simply a limited divorce. Such a divorce does not dissolve the marital bond." Gary N. Skoloff and Lawrence J. Cutler, N.J. Family Law Practice ¶ 2.6 (15th ed. 2013).
[436 N.J.Super. 643] The court's authority to enter an order changing a litigant's name in a divorce case is set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-21. That statute provides, in pertinent part:
The court, upon or after granting a divorce from the bonds of matrimony to either spouse ... may allow either spouse ... to resume any name used by the spouse ... before the marriage ..., or to assume any surname.
The statute, by its terms, expressly limits this court's authority to grant a name change in those circumstances in which an ...