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February 2016 Archives

Applying the Amendments to the Alimony Statute as to Cohabitation to Post-Judgment Orders Filed Before the Statute's Effectuation Date

When the amendment to the alimony statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n), relating to cohabitation was effectuated, a question arose as to whether the amendment applied to post-judgment Orders finalized before the effective date of the statute. In October 2015, the New Jersey Appellate Court addressed that very question in the case of Spangenberg v. Kolakowski, 442 N.J. Super. 529 (App. Div. 2015) and found that post-judgment Orders filed before the effective date of the statute are not subject to the amendments to the alimony statute.

Cell Phone Evidence in Domestic Violence Proceedings

In the case of E.C. v. R.H, plaintiff alleged defendant had been harassing her by sending her many unwanted text and social media messages, along with voicemails, filled with profanities and derogatory and upsetting comments. At the start of the hearing, plaintiff wished to introduce evidence of multiple allegedly harassing communications stored on her cell phone. Plaintiff's request was not uncommon. Litigants in domestic violence matters often seek to introduce evidence on their cell phones but questions always arise as to how to properly introduce the evidence into trial. E.C. v. R.H. noted that our laws of evidence and civil procedure have struggled to adequately keep up with the fast pace of technological advancement and as a result, some of the more traditional methods of introducing evidence into court do not address the specialized needs and practical problems that arise when parties come into court and seek to introduce information stored on their cell phones directly into evidence, such as texts, e-mails, social media messages, or audio/visual evidence.