Family Law Funnies!

By Mark Gruber, Esq., J.D., L.L.M.
May 24, 2006
NJ FAQs/Legal Issues


In Sussex County, equitable distribution often involves dividing the "back-forty." The county is bucolic with rolling hills, farmland, lakes and streams. As such, our Sussex County mindset varies greatly from the more urban counties of New Jersey. During a palimony hearing, a Defendant testified that, although his relationship with the Plaintiff lasted more than 21 years, the last 14 years were best characterized as roommates without any sexual relationship. His testimony averred that the parties slept in separate bedrooms, he had several relationships with other persons, and that he had never held himself as the spouse of the Plaintiff, nor had he ever promised to support her. The Plaintiff's sworn testimony, as one would imagine, was quite different. She alleged that the parties held themselves out as husband and wife, and that they had a sexual relationship. She recounted one specific recent incident in which the Plaintiff had purchased a new waterbed and the Defendant had taken great joy in installing a mirror on the headboard to enjoy their lovemaking activities. In a serious and pointed cross-examination, the Plaintiff was asked whether, during the recent incident described in her direct examination, there had been penetration. In an honest and forthright manner, she testified that the waterbed mattress was very rocky-and-rolly. After several more questions on cross-examinations she finally admitted in true Sussex County fashion, "he kept trying but couldn't get the horse into the barn."


We, divorce lawyers, can't take ourselves to seriously. A husband filed for divorce because his wife had rekindled a high school romance when she attended her tenth-year high school reunion. The boyfriend was a firefighter from Oregon and the wife a resident of New Jersey. The court granted the husband's request to restrain the wife from exposing the children to the boyfriend because the children were young and it would not be in their best interest. One day, during a scheduled parenting time, the young children sang a childhood song to the husband, "Mommy and Danny sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G." The husband immediately brought an Order to Show Cause seeking further sanctions and a transfer of custody, because the wife had exposed the young children to the boyfriend. In the wife's Certification in Opposition to the Order to Show Cause, she certified that, in fact, the children had been exposed to the boyfriend for a brief hour or two at Newark Airport. She explained that her boyfriend was a firefighter and had flown into Newark to respond to the 9-11 catastrophe and that she had greeted him at the airport. She did not have a sitter for the children so she brought them along thinking that it was innocent enough. At oral argument, the trial judge asked the wife's lawyer (me) what the boyfriend was doing at Newark Airport and I responded innocently, "The boyfriend was in New Jersey on a layover." The red embarrassed look on my face lasted a lot longer than the laughter in the courtroom.

Mark Gruber, Esq. is a name partner in the law firm of Gruber, Colabella & Liuzza, with offices in Hopatcong, Hamburg and Newton, NJ.   Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a family law attorney and the AAML as a divorce mediator and arbitrator, he has practiced family law for over 28 years in New Jersey.

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May 24, 2006
Categories:  FAQs

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