On February 3, 2010, the Appellate Division issued a reported (precedential) opinion in the case of Parish v. Parish.  This case is near and dear to me because I represent Mr. Parish and we made new law. 

In this post-judgment litigation we filed a motion seeking enforcement of the parties’ divorce agreement because the ex-wife interfered with his parenting time with the children and to fix a parenting schedule for the next several months. The schedule was supposed to be arrived at with the assistance of a parenting coordinator but the issuance of a domestic violence temporary restraining order against Mr. Parish’s ex-wife delayed that process. After the restraining order was dismissed, the parties went to the parent coordinator who made recommendations prior to the return date of the motion. Mr. Parish agreed with them – he ex-wife would not state if she agreed or not, waiting to see what the court would do.

The trial court denied Mr. Parish’s motion as moot, ordered the parties back to the parent coordinator to deal with the issues in the motion and required that the parties attend settlement conferences before filing any future motions, even enforcement motions.

We appealed arguing that (1) the trial court unconstitutionally impaired Mr. Parish’s access to the Court and (2) the court improperly abdicated its responsibility to a parent coordinator who cannot, by Supreme Court directive, address enforcement issues in any event.

The Appellate Division agreed in a 2-1 decision. In doing so, they crafted new requirements before a family part litigant’s access to the Court can be restricted.Continue Reading APPELLATE DIVISION CREATES NEW PROCEDURE LIMITING JUDGE'S ABILITY TO RESTRICT A LITIGANT'S ACCESS TO THE FAMILY COURT