November 4, 2005
Case Law Development: Court Upholds Appointment of "Therapeutic Monitor" to Assist Parents in Custody Disputes
The New Jersey Appellate Court, while reversing a trial court's decision on custody and support issues, declined to review the court's appointment of a "therapeutic monitor" to resolve parenting time disputes. The role of the monitor (in this case a licensed social worker) appears to be an amalgam of mediator, investigator, guardian ad litem, and therapist. The duties of the monitor were outlined by the court as:
- assist the parties in resolving parenting disputes and creating a workable parenting plan.
- speak with other professionals (such as the child's therapists; school counselors; Guardian ad Litem; clergy; or attorneys for the parties) in order to fully address any dispute.
The parties were required to meet with the monitor together for at least two hours before filing any legal actions regarding parenting time disputes. The information that the therapeutic monitor acquires is not confidential. The court may require the monitor to report to the court and the parties on needs for therapy for any family member, the recalcitrance of either party, and a suggested parenting plan.
Rylick v. Rylick, New Jersey, #a0499-04 (November 1, 2005)
Opinion on the web at http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a0499-04.opn.html (last visited November 3, 2005 bgf)