An Appellate Division case is a recent reminder of how to enforce a property settlement agreement (PSA) in a divorce. Divorces are granted and adjudicated in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of NJ Superior Court. Chancery Division generally deals with cases that are generally non-monetary. Special Civil Part is contained in the Law Division of NJ Superior Court (the “special” meaning claims below $15,000). Law Division generally deals with monetary disputes and the remedy in Law Division is a monetary judgment.
In Gulutz v. Gulutz (an unpublished case, A-3059-15T1), one spouse lent another some money and sued in Special Civil Part when the loan was not repaid. The loan was given after the divorce but the loan was to be repaid out of the proceeds of the sale of the marital home. The defendant demanded that Family Part hear the case and that motion was granted. The Family Part judge, on his/her own, issued this order:
[The plaintiff is] to re-file their requested relief in Family Court in accordance with New Jersey Court Rules. In addition, all future filings in this matter are to be made in Family Court .
I have mediated cases in Special Civil Part where parties (even represented by an attorney) are seeking to enforce a Family Part divorce-related judgment. Those cases are invariably sent back to Family Part for the Family Part judge to enforce his or her own order. So make sure you’re in the right court division or part when filing for relief to enforce an order of the Family Part (which usually incorporated your PSA).