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Sunday, January 6, 2019

J.G. VS. J.H. (FD-21-0329-14, WARREN COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1326-17T2)

Because the welfare of children is paramount whether the parents are married, divorced or never-married, the court reverses and remands for a plenary hearing in this non-dissolution, FD, child custody matter. The mother, J.G. (Jane) appeals from a custody and parenting time order entered after the judge denied discovery, denied Jane's lawyer the right to participate in the proceedings, did not afford cross-examination or an opportunity to call witnesses and decided the issues without fact-finding or a consideration of the statutory custody factors, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c). The court reviews the appropriate way to handle FD custody matters, pursuant to Administrative Directive #01-02, "Standards for Child Custody and Parenting Time Investigation Reports" (Apr. 2, 2002), the Rules of Court and relevant statutes.