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Good Afternoon. I am recently divorced and need a legal interpretation

of a clause in my...
Good Afternoon. I am recently divorced and need a legal interpretation of a clause in my divorce.
My daughter is court ordered to attend therapy in an attempt to reunify her with her father. He was rotten to her since she was a small child and has refused to participate in any parenting plan or speak to him since May 2012.

The court order states the following:

To restart the relationship shall engage in reunification therapy as recommended by the custody evaluator. The parties agree that the therapist must be a psychologist or other mental health professional and shall be chosen by them jointly. The parties will consult with each other to engage a new therapist. Should the parties be unable to agree upon a refunification therapist each party will provide the court with the names an circulum Vitate of 3 new therapists and the court will appoint these professionals within 30 days of the execution of this agreement.

The X has found reunification therapists and they do not participate in his health care plan. However many psychologists do. The therapist he has found charges 250.00 and hour and requires a 3,000 up front retainer. My question is am I REQUIRED to hire one of these people or is a licensed psychologist adequate based on this agreement as worded above.

In addition he has my son for one week vacation this week and he claims it is my responsibility to provide clothing for him. The agreement states: The parties further agree to ensure that the children have the necessary clothing and toiletries as well and access to medical care during their parenting time. I made it clear to my lawyer I wanted to so that he would have to provide his own clothing for his son and he claims this is against NJ "law" am I wrong that he is required to provide clothing for him?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
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Answered in 20 minutes by:
7/13/2013
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
Experience: Retired
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Hello. You asked:

The X has found reunification therapists and they do not participate in his health care plan. However many psychologists do. The therapist he has found charges 250.00 and hour and requires a 3,000 up front retainer. My question is am I REQUIRED to hire one of these people or is a licensed psychologist adequate based on this agreement as worded above.

A: The orders clearly require that you and your ex must agree on any new therapist, and if you cannot agree, then upon presentation of the resume of three different therapists to the court, the court will appoint a therapist.

In addition he has my son for one week vacation this week and he claims it is my responsibility to provide clothing for him. The agreement states: The parties further agree to ensure that the children have the necessary clothing and toiletries as well and access to medical care during their parenting time. I made it clear to my lawyer I wanted to so that he would have to provide his own clothing for his son and he claims this is against NJ "law" am I wrong that he is required to provide clothing for him?

A: The court must award child support pursuant to the state guidelines. The trade off is simply stated: In exchange for one parent's payment of money, that parent is relieved of the obligation to provide for the child's necessaries, and in return for the receipt of that child support, the other parent is obligated to provide necessaries for the child.

However, to say that it is "against the law" for the father to purchase necessaries for the child, and equally against the law for the mother to refuse, is to inflate the issue unreasonably.

Neither parent can abandon their child's needs without being charged criminally. And, unless a support order expressly requires that one parent provide necessaries, then that parent cannot be held in contempt for failing to do so. Ultimately, were a parent to show a failure to use child support funds to provide for a child, the court would likely reverse custody, or if neither parent was fit to care for the child, then the court would order the child into foster care, and order each parent to pay child support to the foster care provider.

Put in legal terms, "In equity, the parents' obligation to support and educate their children is an obligation enforced whenever equity has jurisdiction on equitable principles in light of facts of individual case...." Greenspan v. Slate, 12 N.J. 426, 97 A.2d 390(NJ Supreme Ct. 6/1/1953).

So, if there is a dispute on this issue, then you will have to ask the court to make express orders, so that each parent clearly knows his/her obligation under the support provisions.

Hope this helps.

socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
Experience: Retired
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

So basically you are saying it will have to be determined by the judge who has been dealing with our divorce since 2011. I do not believe he will be at all happy to see us back in his courtroom. Can you please clarify that I am not out of line for wanting a licensed psychologist that participates in our healthcare plan to be engaged.


Just so you know the X asked for and was granted (by me) a 50.00 dollar cut in child support monthly.


 


I am not out to cause issues regarding the clothing but the X has my son Wednesday overnight and then the next week two overnights. To expect me to provide clothing for him every time is a downright nuisance. I thought my lawyer had made it clear that he needed to provide clothing but it appears that is not the case.

You don't need to explain the annoyance. Family law matters are almost always acrimonious. It's just the way of the world.

Anyway, yes, this matter will be for the court to decide -- and since there is a collateral matter concerning the unnecessary cost of psychological care, you will need to bring a formal motion to have the court not only appoint a therapist, but also to determine whether or not this should be an expense born by you or your ex outside of your health plan.

If I were the judge, then I would ask your ex to show why a particular therapist is necessarily so much better than anyone available from the health plan provider network -- and unless I heard a good reason why, then I would order your ex to pay for the additional cost -- or consent to someone "in plan."

Hope this helps.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

This does help. Thank you very much. 2,516 more days and it will all be over. Have a good weekend.

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socrateaser
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Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
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