July 19, 2006
Case Law Development: New Jersey Supreme Court Decides Not to Decide Constitutional Right of Siblings to Visit One Another
The New Jersey Supreme Court vacated its grant of certification in a case in which the Law Guardian had asked the court to decide "whether the Division of Youth & Family Services or the courts have an affirmative duty to ensure that contact between siblings is maintained, even in a post-adoption context, when the siblings are in a separate home." While the court noted that "we cannot underestimate the value of nurturing and sustaining sibling relationships" it concluded that there was no case or controversy before them as the child in question was afforded ample and regular visitation with siblings who had been adopted into a different home. Rather, the court suggested that the topic was one the legislature should address:
The competing public policy concerns presented by the parties and amici curiae would benefit from legislative review. The state legislatures that have addressed the issue of sibling visitation after adoption have taken a variety of approaches. Thus, our Legislature may have an interest in addressing the issues discussed here. The Court expresses no opinion on the merits of the issues raised by the parties and amici curiae.
New Jersey Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. S.S., 2006 N.J. LEXIS 1083 (July 18, 2006)
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