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J.R. v. L.R.

386 N.J. Super. 475, 902 A.2d 261 (2006)

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J.R. v. L.R.

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division

386 N.J. Super. 475, 902 A.2d 261 (2006)

Facts

The marriage between L.R. (plaintiff) and J.R. (plaintiff) produced one child, Nicholas, but it was an unstable relationship. One night after an argument, L.R. went to a bar, met S.G. (defendant), and had sexual intercourse with him. As a result, L.R. became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Jessica. However, L.R. did not inform J.R. that he was not Jessica’s real father until an argument that occurred when Jessica was nine years old. The couple separated. Later, L.R. filed a complaint against J.R. for support of both children, which the judge ordered J.R. to pay. J.R. then filed a motion for paternity testing, which was granted. Because the results showed that J.R. was not Jessica’s biological father, the child-support order was modified to apply only to Nicholas. J.R. moved out of the state, and his relationship with Jessica deteriorated. L.R. contacted S.G., told him that he had a daughter with her, and requested financial support. S.G. refused. L.R. filed a paternity complaint against S.G. Around the same time, J.R. filed for a reduction in child support and joint custody of Nicholas and Jessica. J.R. also sought to compel L.R. to make Jessica’s biological father available for a support hearing. J.R.’s motion and L.R.’s paternity complaint were consolidated. The judge determined that Jessica wanted to know the identity of her real father and that a paternity test of S.G. would therefore be in Jessica’s best interests. The test established that S.G. was Jessica’s father, though S.G. wanted no relationship with Jessica. The judge further determined that Jessica’s child-support needs were $150 per week—an amount that S.G. was deemed financially unable to pay. It was ordered that J.R. and S.G. would each pay $75 per week. S.G. appealed (J.R. did not). The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Collester, J.)

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