Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jimenez v. Jimenez

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 8, 2018

RAUL AUGUSTIN JIMENEZ, LIRIO JIMENEZ, and LUIS JIMENEZ, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
RAUL ANIBAL JIMENEZ, Defendant-Respondent.

          Argued April 23, 2018

          On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-0025-12.

          Susan Schleck Kleiner argued the cause for appellants.

          Nicholas R. Jimenez argued the cause for respondent.

          Before Judges Sabatino, Ostrer and Rose.

          SABATINO, P.J.A.D.

         This appeal poses the legal question of whether N.J.S.A. 46:3-17.4, a provision enacted into law in 1988, precludes a spouse's unsecured creditor from obtaining the forced partition of real property the spouse and his non-debtor spouse own together as tenants by the entirety. We hold the statute prohibits such non-consensual partition. The statute supersedes and nullifies earlier case law that had allowed such a creditor's remedy in certain equitable circumstances.

         The facts pertinent to our legal analysis are limited and essentially undisputed. In October 2 006, defendant Raul Anibal Jimenez and his wife Gwyn Jimenez[1] obtained a tract of real property in Mansfield, New Jersey. The tract, which is said to be about thirty acres, is undeveloped and has not been used as the owners' marital residence. It is undisputed that defendant and his wife own the property as tenants by the entirety.

         In December 2011, plaintiffs Luis Jimenez, Raul Augustin Jimenez, and Lirio Jimenez[2] filed a complaint in the Law Division against defendant seeking repayment on a line of credit they extended to him, as well as the repayment of additional funds he allegedly owed them in connection with a joint venture. Defendant denied liability and brought counterclaims against plaintiffs.

          Before a jury trial commenced, the parties settled their respective claims. They entered into a consent judgment on February 21, 2014, to be paid by defendant to plaintiffs, in the agreed-upon sum of $225, 000. The consent judgment was "filed and recorded as a lien" on March 24, 2014.

         The consent judgment recited that plaintiffs agreed to stay its execution until July 1, 2014. After that date passed, and defendant still had not satisfied the judgment, plaintiffs pursued collection efforts. They unsuccessfully attempted to levy upon moneys due from numerous companies with which defendant does business in New Jersey. Plaintiffs also docketed the consent judgment in Pennsylvania, where defendant resides. Bank account searches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as a personal asset search of defendant, were unproductive.

         In January 2016, defendant responded to a post-judgment information subpoena concerning his finances. He claimed no income from his business activities. He did reveal that he and his wife own together a car, two real properties in Pennsylvania, and the Mansfield parcel in New Jersey. Plaintiffs have been unable thus far to obtain recovery of their judgment out of the Pennsylvania real estate, or from any other assets.

          In November 2 016, plaintiffs moved in the Law Division under Rule 4:59-l(d) to compel the partition and sale of the Mansfield property. Defendant opposed the motion. He argued that such a forced sale and partition of real property, which he co-owns with his spouse as tenants by the entirety, is prohibited by N.J.S.A. 46:3-17.4.

         In an oral opinion issued on January 6, 2017, the motion judge denied plaintiffs' application. The judge recognized that, under prior case law, a creditor could obtain the forced partition and sale of interests in real estate owned by a married couple as tenants by the entirety, depending upon the relative equities involved. Nevertheless, the judge ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.