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Sunday, October 14, 2012

KATHERINE MILNE VS. ROBERT GOLDENBERG A-4062-10T4


KATHERINE MILNE VS. ROBERT GOLDENBERG
          A-4062-10T4/A-4319-10T4/A-4594-10T4 (CONSOLIDATED)
In this matrimonial matter the parties raised several challenges to four Family Part orders. Two significant issues warrant publication of our opinion. First, we examined the scope of the hearing regarding a report by a guardian ad litem (GAL) as required by Rule 5:8B. The trial judge limited the evidentiary hearing to examination, including cross-examination, of the GAL, after rejecting plaintiff's request to testify and allow an adjournment to obtain an expert opinion. We determined the trial judge employed too restrictive an interpretation of Rule 5:8B, and clarified the parties' ability to contest the facts presented by a GAL.
Second, we reversed as error the trial court's appointment of a parenting coordinator (PC) without conforming to the Supreme Court Guidelines implementing the PC Pilot Program as he believed the Guidelines applied only to pilot counties, which did not include Essex County. We held that although parties to a matrimonial dispute may agree to accept defined obligations regarding use of a PC, which do not violate the public policy of this State, any Family Part judge ordering the appointment of a PC must comply with the Supreme Court's established Guidelines. 09-12-12