On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FM-12-2160-01E.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 5, 2010
Before Judges Fuentes and Simonelli.
Defendant Ahmed Aboubakr appeals from the August 20, 2008 Family Part order that denied his motion to disqualify a court-appointed expert, appoint a new expert, hold plaintiff in contempt for failing to comply with his supervised parenting time schedule, and for make-up parenting time. Defendant also appeals from the same order, that reduced his parenting time.
We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.
Defendant is a native of Egypt with dual citizenship in Egypt and the United States. Plaintiff Nancy Ismail is a United States citizen of Egyptian ancestry. The parties were married on June 27, 1999, and their only child, a son, was born in August 2000.
As a result of defendant's acts of domestic violence, plaintiff filed for divorce in April 2001, and obtained a final restraining order against him. In October 2001, defendant was convicted of assaulting plaintiff. Prior thereto, Paul Dasher, Ph.D. had conducted a court-ordered psychological evaluation of defendant and recommended that he have supervised parenting time with his son for three months, with subsequent reviews thereafter to determine any modifications in parenting time.
By order of June 19, 2003, the trial judge granted physical custody of the son to plaintiff and set defendant's parenting time on Saturdays or Sundays between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on Wednesdays between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Because defendant had threatened numerous times to abscond with his son to Egypt, the order provided that plaintiff's father would supervise defendant's parenting time, that defendant must surrender his United States and Egyptian passports, and that defendant was prohibited from removing a security bracelet the son wore during parenting time.
The judge appointed Robert Rosenbaum Ed.D. to assist the court in resolving the parenting time issue. Rosenbaum issued a detailed report, recommending that the judge grant plaintiff sole legal custody of her son and set "[a] strict, set schedule for visitation/parenting time" for defendant. He concluded that
It is . . . reasonable to believe that [defendant] is at risk for flight. Given his unstable psychological condition and his overt disregard to individuals' rights, his taking [his son] to Egypt should not be underestimated.
However, it should be noted that [defendant] is not sociopathic. I believe his behavior to be based in his underlying psychological state. Thus, I believe that some closely supervised visitation with [his son] would be appropriate.
Once [defendant] has complied with the Court orders and shown progress in therapy, I would recommend he be given limited, unsupervised visitation.
At trial, Rosenbaum testified consistent with his report. Upon conclusion of all testimony, the judge found that defendant had threatened to kill plaintiff, physically assaulted her numerous times, refused to accept responsibility for his actions despite a conviction for assault, threatened numerous times to abscond with his son to Egypt, and that an ongoing risk existed that defendant would abscond with his son to Egypt if granted unsupervised parenting time. The judge granted plaintiff primary residential custody ...