On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County, Docket No. FD-09-2016-08.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 22, 2010
Before Judges Lisa and R. B. Coleman.
Plaintiff, Daniel Parks, appeals from the November 10, 2008 Family Part order modifying his parenting time. He also appeals from the Family Part order registering an order of July 24, 2008 entered by a Pennsylvania court modifying a previously-entered Pennsylvania court order providing for custody and parenting time.*fn1 Plaintiff makes the following arguments on appeal:
I. THE TRIAL COURT DECISION IS IN VIOLATION OF UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION RIGHTS TO A FAIR TRIAL AND DUE PROCESS.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT CLEARLY STATING THE FACTUAL FINDINGS AND RELATING THOSE FINDINGS TO RELEVANT LEGAL CONCLUSIONS.
III. THE TRIAL COURT DECISION AND FINDINGS OF FACT ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY ADEQUATE, SUBSTANTIAL, CREDIBLE EVIDENCE.
IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ACCEPTING EVIDENCE EX PARTE.
V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY GIVING INSUFFICIENT NOTICE REGARDING EVIDENCE TO PLAINTIFF['S] COUNSEL.
VI. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN ALLOWING INTRODUCTION AND USE OF PROTESTED AND QUESTIONABLE EVIDENCE IN CONSIDERATION OF ITS DECISION.
VII. THE TRIAL COURT DECISION IS UNJUSTLY DISTORTED BY FINDINGS OF FACT THAT ARE CONTRARY TO THE EVIDENCE.
VIII. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR A FULL CUSTODY HEARING.
We agree with Points II and VIII, and accordingly remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion. We reject plaintiff's remaining arguments.
Plaintiff and defendant, Laura Poulter, were never married, but they lived together and had a child together. Their son, T.P., was born on October 30, 2005 in State College, Pennsylvania, where plaintiff and defendant were then residing. The parties separated on September 10, 2006.
On September 14, 2006, the parties entered into a written joint custody agreement, providing for equal residential and physical custody. An order was entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Pennsylvania on September 13, 2007, "upon agreement of the parties," providing for joint legal custody and equally-shared physical custody on an alternating weekly basis. The order further authorized defendant to relocate to New Jersey with the minor child. On February 5, 2008, the Pennsylvania court entered an order referring the matter to Dr. Penelope Miller for a "Custody Evaluation/Resolution Meeting." Apparently Dr. Miller issued a report, but it is not in the record on appeal.
At a time not clear from the record, defendant moved to Jersey City. Plaintiff apparently continued to live in Pennsylvania until June 11, 2008, when he moved to Bronx, New York.
The first proceeding in New Jersey was commenced by the issuance of an order to show cause on March 6, 2008 in the Family Part in Hudson County, at plaintiff's request, for enforcement of the Pennsylvania order of September 13, 2007. An order was entered on the return date, March 13, 2008, granting registration of the Pennsylvania order ...