Senator RONALD L. RICE
District 28 (Essex)
Senator DIANE B. ALLEN
District 7 (Burlington and Camden)
Authorizes party to a final divorce judgment or judgment for the dissolution of a civil union to request name change without notifying opposing party.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 23, 2010, with amendments.
An Act concerning certain name change applications and amending N.J.S.2A:34-21.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.2A:34-21 is amended to read as follows:
2A:34-21. 1Surname.1 a. The court, upon or after granting a divorce from the bonds of matrimony to either spouse or dissolution of a civil union to either partner in a civil union couple, may allow either spouse or partner in a civil union couple to resume any name used by the spouse or partner in a civil union couple before the marriage or civil union, or to assume any surname.
b. 1[A party seeking either the resumption of a name or the assumption of a surname pursuant to subsection a. of this section after the entry of a final judgment of divorce or judgment of dissolution of a civil union may seek such relief through an ex parte motion. Any judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part of the county in which the judgment of divorce was entered may enter such an ex parte order when necessary to protect the life, health, or well being of the party on whose behalf the relief is sought. Such an ex parte order shall be granted upon good cause shown. A decision shall be made by the judge regarding the relief forthwith.
A party seeking an ex parte order pursuant to this subsection shall certify to a credible and lawful purpose for the resumption or assumption of the particular name or surname. The party shall also certify whether or not he or she has ever been convicted of a crime and whether any criminal charges are pending against him or her. If such convictions or pending charges exist, the party shall provide such details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to. If criminal charges are pending, the party shall notify, by certified mail, the law enforcement authority responsible for prosecution thereof of the name or surname that the party wishes to resume or assume and the reasons articulated for the name change. Notice shall be sent to the law enforcement authority at least 30 days prior to the party seeking ex parte relief under this subsection.
The party shall also certify that the ex parte motion is not being instituted for purposes of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution, for avoiding creditors, or for perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud. The party shall also certify that he or she has not been adjudged a bankrupt in the past 10 years and that he or she is not presently a party in a bankruptcy proceeding. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he or she knowingly gives or causes to be given false information under this subsection.
An order granting the ex parte relief shall be forwarded to the sheriff for immediate service upon the non-moving party in accordance with the Rules of Court. If personal service cannot be effected upon the non-moving party, the court may order other appropriate substituted service. At no time shall the moving party be asked or required to serve the ex parte order on the non-moving party.]
Where a party is seeking either the resumption of a name or the assumption of a surname following the entry of a final judgment of divorce or judgment of dissolution of a civil union, the requirements of N.J.S.2A:52-1 et seq. shall not apply. The court may hear and decide an application for a name change brought under this subsection on an ex parte basis.
In addition to any general publication of a judgment granting a name change as may be required by law or Rules of Court, a copy of the judgment granting a name change entered pursuant to this subsection shall be forwarded to the sheriff for service upon the former spouse or civil union partner in accordance with the Rules of Court. If personal service cannot be effected upon such party, the court may order other appropriate substituted service. At no time shall the moving party be required to serve a copy of the judgment entered pursuant to this subsection on the former spouse or civil union partner.
The moving party shall be responsible for the payment of any fees or costs for services associated with this subsection.1
(cf: P.L.2006, c.103, s.77)
2. This act shall take effect 1[immediately] on the first day of the fourth month following enactment1.