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Philipp v. Stahl
New Jersey Supreme Court
798 A.2d 83 (2002)
A husband (defendant) and wife (plaintiff) married in 1975 and divorced in Georgia in 1993. A Georgia court entered the divorce judgment, which contained an order for the husband to pay the wife monthly child support. Six months later, the wife moved to New Jersey with the couple’s children. In 1994, 1995, and 1999, a New Jersey court entered three orders that shifted the couple’s arrangements over the children to some degree but otherwise affirmed the continuing “full force and effect” of the Georgia court’s 1992 judgment. The first order changed the percentage of the husband’s responsibility for the children’s visitation costs, e.g., airfare, from 100 percent to 60 percent, because the wife moved; the second order directed the husband to pay one unallocated payment of $1,000 rather than $500 per month for each child, for purposes of wage garnishment; and the third order primarily changed custody of one child to the husband and incidentally relieved the wife of all health insurance costs for that child. Most recently, the wife requested a New Jersey order for the husband to contribute money to one child’s college expenses. The trial court ruled that it had no jurisdiction to enter such an order because Georgia retained exclusive jurisdiction. The wife appealed. The appellate court reversed, concluding that the three New Jersey court orders modified the original Georgia judgment and that, under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, jurisdiction over the matter had become vested in New Jersey. One dissenting judge of the appellate court opined that the three New Jersey orders merely enforced the original judgment. The matter was appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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