In the recent case of K.I.A. v. J.L. Docket No. C-157-15 (Ch. Div., April 11, 2016), the court held that when service of process cannot be done by traditional means the rules of civil procedure allow an alternate form of service, like Facebook. Rule 4:4-4(b)(3) permits a court to enter an order permitting service by means other than those provided by rule “consistent with due process.”
This is the case of an adoptive parents filed a cause of action against the defendant to enjoin him from contacting their adoptive son, remove information about their son from social media and to contact their family. Defendant an out of State individual contacted plaintiffs’ child through Facebook, disclosed that he was the biological father and contacted the family. In their attempt to serve the summons and complaint to the defendant, plaintiffs’ made reasonable, good-faith attempt to effectuate personal service but were unsuccessful. The plaintiffs made a request for the court to order substituted service of process via Facebook which was granted.
The court analyzed three factors to establish that service by Facebook is proper:
- Can the defendant be served by conventional means, those specifically permitted by court rule?
- Is the relief sought appropriate for service by publication?
- Will service by Facebook still protect defendant’s due process rights? He has demonstrated his own Facebook
In issuing their decision, the court was satisfied that after diligent efforts, personal service could not be accomplished. Service by publication would not be efficient given the nature of the relief sought, an injunction to stop the defendant from contacting plaintiffs’ son. The court was further satisfied that the Facebook account of the defendant was his as it was that account that defendant employed to contact plaintiffs’ son and his due process were satisfied. Finally, defendant acknowledged receipt of the summons and complaint and therefore service was successful.
For more information about Service of Process matters in New Jersey please contact our office at (201) 880-5563, for an appointment with one of our attorneys.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are of general nature and not intended to be a substitute for legal advice or the formation of a lawyer-client relationship. In order to be properly represented, please contact your local professional. In addition, the information given on this website has been composed by a New Jersey attorney practicing exclusively in New Jersey. None of the information contained herein should be deemed to apply in other states, nor should this website be construed as an attempt by the author to practice law in any state other than New Jersey.
Harassment and Domestic Violence in New Jersey
Harassment can constitute a basis for the issuance of a restraining order if the statutory elements are satisfied. See N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4. The statute defines harassment:
Except as provided in subsection e., a person commits a petty disorderly person offense if, with the purpose to harass another, he: a. Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; b. Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or c. Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person. [N.J.S.A. 2c:33-4 (emphasis added).]
As provided by the statute, a finding of harassment requires proof of an intent or purpose to harass. State v. Hoffman, 149 N.J. 564, 576-77 (1997). An assertion by a plaintiff that he or she felt harassed is a subjective belief and insufficient to prove a purpose or intent to harass. See J.D. v. M.D.F., 207 N.J. 458, 484 (2011). The courts must find that “relief is necessary to prevent further abuse,” before making a finding of harassment. J.D., supra, 207 N.J. at 476 (first quoting Corrente v. Corrente, 281 N.J. Super. 243, 250 (App. Div. 1995); and quoting N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(b)).
Trial courts must determine whether an act is simply an ordinary domestic dispute or disagreement or whether the act crosses the line into domestic violence. Id. at 475. The family court must then determine whether the plaintiff needs the protection of a restraining order. Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J. Super. 112, 126 (App. Div. 2006) and whether a restraining order is necessary . . . to protect the victim from an immediate danger or prevent further abuse.” Id. at 127. ” The court cannot grant a FRO by just merely concluding that plaintiff has described acts that qualify as harassment and omitting whether the plaintiffs need the protection of the restraining order as it would ‘trivialize the plight of true victims,’ in the process.” J.D., supra, 207 N.J. at 476 (internal citations omitted)(quoting Corrente v. Corrente, 281 N.J. Super. 243, 250 (App. Div. 1995)).
In New Jersey, in order for the family court to grant a FRO in a domestic violence matter involving harassment, the courts must not only decide that the predicate offense of harassment happened but it needs also to determine whether the plaintiff needs the protection of a final restraining order.
For more information about domestic violence matters in New Jersey please contact our office at (201) 880-5563, for an appointment with one of our attorneys.
New Tenant, but same old lease?
You need a Bergen County Landlord Tenant Attorney.
Not all lease agreements are created equal. In drafting the lease, the landlord needs to look beyond the standard clauses of amount of rent owed, date it is due and the term of the lease. It is crucial that each lease is individually drafted for that individual tenant as each tenant can create their own individual set of future problems. Failure to consider this and use a template lease for all new tenants will result in future problems when it is time to evict the tenant and/or collect rent that is owed.
‘Landlord should look into the tenant’s rental history, income, as well as family resources when determining what terms need to go into the tenant’s rental agreement. Not every tenant that qualifies financially is a necessarily a good tenant to have. In fact, some tenants winding up costing the landlord both financially and emotionally.
These are the type of pitfall that can easily be avoided by using an experienced landlord-tenant attorney to help you draft your lease.
Contact our Bergen, New Jersey Landlord Tenant Attorneys at 201-880-5563 to see how can help you save time, money and protect your investment and property.