In the unpublished (non-precedential) recent case of N.G. v. N.B.G., the Appellate Court declined to enforce a provision in the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement that permitted the parties to retain a Parenting Coordinator to resolve co-parenting issues, due to the existence of a Final Restraining Order (I note that the FRO was in existence at the time the parties agreed to the language of their MSA).
The Court reasoned that although the pilot program appointing Parenting Coordinators was discontinued in New Jersey on November 26, 2012, the guidelines for the pilot program prohibited the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator in instances of a Temporary or Final Restraining Order pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.
The takeaway from this case is that before you negotiate certain provisions that you feel are instrumental to your divorce agreement, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that such provisions are not contrary to the public policy of our state. In this case, someone did not get the benefit of their bargain.
Lauren K. Beaver is an attorney in Fox Rothschild LLP’s Family Law Practice Group. Lauren practices in the firm’s Princeton, New Jersey office representing clients on issues relating to divorce, custody, parenting time, support and equitable distribution. Lauren can be reached at (609) 844-3027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.