RULE 5:1. Cognizability Of Actions; Scope And Applicability Of Rules

5:1-1. Scope and Applicability of Rules

The rules in Part V shall govern family actions. All family actions shall also be governed by the rules in Part I insofar as applicable. Civil family actions shall also be governed by the rules in Part IV insofar as applicable and except as otherwise provided by the rules in Part V. Criminal and quasi-criminal family actions shall also be governed by the rules in Part III insofar as applicable except as otherwise provided by the rules in Part V. Juvenile delinquency actions shall be governed by the rules in Part III insofar as applicable and except as otherwise provided by the rules in Part V.

Note: Source-new. Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective December 31, 1983; amended January 5, 1998 to be effective February 1, 1998.

5:1-2. Actions Cognizable

The following actions shall be cognizable in the Family Part:

  • (a) Civil Family Actions Generally. All civil actions in which the principal claim is unique to and arises out of a family or family-type relationship shall be brought in the Family Part. Such actions shall include all actions and proceedings provided for in Chapters II and III of Part V; all civil actions and proceedings formerly designated as matrimonial actions; actions that arise under the Domestic Partnership Act, N.J.S.A. 26:8A-1 et seq.; actions arising under N.J.S.A. 37:1-28 et seq. relating to civil unions; all civil actions and proceedings formerly cognizable in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court; and all other civil actions and proceedings unique to and arising out of a family or a family-type relationship.

  • (b) Juvenile Delinquency Actions.

  • (c) Criminal and Quasi-Criminal Actions.

    • (1) Criminal actions brought pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:24-5 (willful nonsupport) shall be prosecuted in the Family Part subject to transfer to the Law Division pursuant to R. 3:1-5(b) in the event the defendant is entitled to and demands trial by jury.

    • (2) All other indictable offenses pending in the Law Division may be transferred to the Family Part for trial and disposition pursuant to R. 3:1-5 provided that (A) the gravamen of the offense charged arises out of a family or a family-type relationship between the defendant and a victim, (B) the defendant has waived trial by jury pursuant to R. 1:8-1, (C) the defendant and the prosecutor have both consented to such transfer.

    • (3) Any non-indictable offense or violation pending in the municipal court and any indictable offense within the trial jurisdiction of the municipal court may be transferred for trial and disposition to the Family Part pursuant to R. 5:1-3(b) provided that the gravamen of the offense or violation arises out of a family or family-type relationship between the defendant and a victim.

Note: Source-new. Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective December 31, 1983; paragraph (c)(1) amended June 28, 1996 to be effective September 1, 1996; paragraph (a) amended June 15, 2007 to be effective September 1, 2007.

5:1-3. Transfer of Actions to and From the Family Part

  • (a) Civil Actions. The transfer of civil family actions to or from the Family Part to or from any other trial division or part of a trial division of the Superior Court shall be governed by R. 4:3-1(b).

  • (b) Criminal and Quasi-Criminal Actions.

    • (1) The transfer of criminal actions between the Law Division and the Family Part shall be governed by R. 3:1-5.

    • (2) The transfer of proceedings pending in a municipal court shall be on motion made by the defendant, the complaining witness or the municipal prosecutor. If there is a pending Family Part matter the motion shall be made to the judge assigned to that case and if no judge has been assigned, then to the presiding judge of that vicinage. If there is no pending Family Part matter, then the motion should be made to the presiding judge of the Family Part where the municipal court is located.

  • (c) Juvenile Delinquency Actions. The transfer of juvenile delinquency actions between the Family Part and other courts shall be governed by R. 5:23. The referral of a juvenile delinquency action to the Law Division for prosecution as in the case of an adult shall be governed by R. 5:22.

Note: Source-new. Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective December 31, 1983; paragraph (b)(2) amended November 1, 1985 to be effective January 2, 1986.

5:1-4. Differentiated Case Management in Civil Family Actions

  • (a) Case Management Tracks; Standards for Assignment. Except for summary actions, every civil family action shall be assigned, subject to reassignment as provided by paragraph (c) of this rule, to one of the following tracks as follows:

    • (1) Priority Track. The action shall be assigned to the priority track if it involves contested custody or parenting time issues.

    • (2) Complex Track. The action shall be assigned to the complex track for judicial management if it appears likely that it will require a disproportionate expenditure of court and litigant resources in preparation for trial and at trial because of the number of parties involved, the number of claims and defenses raised, the legal difficulty of the issues presented, the factual difficulty of the subject matter, the length and complexity of discovery, or a combination of these or other factors.

    • (3) Expedited Track. The action shall be assigned to the expedited track if it appears that it can be promptly tried with minimal pretrial proceedings, including discovery. Subject to re-assignment as provided by paragraph (c) of this rule, a dissolution action shall be assigned to the expedited track if (A) there is no dispute as to either the income of the parties or the identifiable value of the assets and no issue of custody or parenting time has been raised; (B) the parties have had a marital, domestic partnership or civil union relationship for less than five years and have no children; (C) the parties have entered into a property settlement agreement; or (D) the action is uncontested.

    • (4) Standard Track. Any action not qualifying for assignment to the priority track, complex track, or expedited track shall be assigned to the standard track.

  • (b) Procedure for Track Assignment. The Family Presiding Judge or a judge designated by the Family Presiding Judge shall make the track assignment as soon as practicable after all parties have filed Family Case Information Statements required by R. 5:5-2 or after the case management conference required by R. 5:5-7, whichever is earlier. The track assignment shall not, however, precede the filing of the first responsive pleading in the action. In making the track assignment, due consideration shall be given to an attorney's request for track assignment. If all the attorneys agree on a track assignment, the case shall not be assigned to a different track except for good cause shown and after giving all attorneys the opportunity to be heard, in writing or orally. If it is not clear from an examination of the information provided by the parties which track assignment is most appropriate, the case shall be assigned to the track that affords the greatest degree of management. The parties shall be advised promptly by the court of the track assignment.

  • (c) Track Reassignment. An action may be reassigned to a track other than that specified in the original notice to the parties either on the court's own motion or on application of a party. Unless the court otherwise directs, such application may be made informally to the Family Presiding Judge or to a judge designated by the Family Presiding Judge and shall state with specificity the reasons therefor.

Note: Adopted January 21, 1999 to be effective April 5, 1999; paragraph (b) amended August 1, 2006 to be effective September 1, 2006; subparagraph (a)(3) amended July 21, 2011 to be effective September 1, 2011.
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