For more than a decade, in certain high-conflict custody cases, New Jersey Family Courts have utilized the services of Parenting Coordinators--professionals (either attorneys or mental health professionals) whose function is to assist in the resolution of disputes involving custody and parenting time. While certainly providing an invaluable service to the Court and the litigants, there is no uniformity as to how the scope of the responsibilities and functions of a Parenting Coordinator is defined in any given case.
However, after several years of studying the issue, the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association has recently made recommendations to the New Jersey Supreme Court for the proposed implementation of a set of rules in an effort to provide clarity and uniformity to the parenting coordination process. The rules delineate the authority of the Parenting Coordinator, including recognizing the possibility that the Parenting Coordinator’s recommendations may be binding upon the parties--subject, of course, to judicial review.
Although the Bar Association’s recommendations to the Court have not yet been formally adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court, it is certainly possible that the Court will take some action in this regard. Suffice it to say, the members of the Cohn Lifland Family Law Team are familiar with the issues attendant to the appointment of Parenting Coordinators and we are keeping a close eye on these developments. If you are involved in a high-conflict custody matter contact a member of our team to see if parenting coordination may be a solution.