December 28, 2011
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FD-20-1370-10.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 17, 2011
Before Judges Parrillo and Alvarez.
For the reasons that follow, we dismiss defendant W.C.'s appeal as interlocutory. On February 24, 2010, W.C. was indicted in Camden County on two charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)(1), and one charge of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b).*fn1
The victim of the alleged criminal conduct is purported to be his seven-year-old daughter, T.C. In addition to T.C., W.C. and his wife, plaintiff D.C.C., have two sons, ages eight and six. W.C. and D.C.C. separated sometime in December 2007 or January 2008. The children resided with D.C.C. post-separation.
By order dated April 19, 2010, W.C. was granted visitation with his sons to be supervised by the Division of Youth and Family Services (the Division), so long as the Division's involvement with the family continued. If the Division's involvement ended, the Union County Court Supervision Program was designated as the agency that would supervise visitation. The Division's involvement having ended, W.C. anticipated the court program would supervise.
Without notice to defendant, however, the court on November 15, 2010, entered an order which stated: "This matter opened on the court's own motion because the Union County Supervised Visitation Program has rejected [defendant] for participation in this program due to an indictment that presently exists. Visitation is suspended until resolution of that indictment. Either party may make a motion pertaining to this order." (emphasis added). It is this latter order from which defendant appeals.
Appeals may be taken from final orders and judgments of the trial court as delineated in Rule 2:2-3. "To be a final judgment, an order generally must 'dispose of all claims against all parties.'" Janicky v. Point Bay Fuel, Inc., 396 N.J. Super. 545, 549 (App. Div. 2007), appeal dismissed, 410 N.J. Super. 203 (App. Div. 2009)(quoting S.N. Golden Estates, Inc. v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 317 N.J. Super. 82, 87 (App. Div. 1998)).
Since the order being appealed specifically provided that either parent had the right to further petition the court as to visitation, the order did not "dispose of all claims against all parties." See S.N. Golden Estates, supra, 317 N.J. Super. at 87. Defendant has not exhausted his options in the Family Part. Defendant has the right at any time to again apply to the court regarding visitation with his sons. The order is therefore not final in nature.
Apart from procedural considerations, dismissal of this appeal is in the best interests of all concerned. In the absence of a record, we could not make a decision regarding defendant's visitation, nor, if necessary, who should be designated as a supervisor. Only the Family Part judge is in a position to address the current state of the family and their circumstances on this important and sensitive issue.