Supreme Court of New Jersey
973 A.2d 347 (N.J. 2009)
Christine Fawzy (plaintiff) filed a petition for divorce from Samih Fawzy (defendant) after 14 years of marriage and the birth of two children. On the day of the hearing on the petition, the Fawzys agreed to arbitration for a determination of property division, child custody and support, and other issues. Prior to entering a judgment authorizing the arbitration, the trial judge warned the Fawzys that any decision made by the arbitrator was not appealable. Thereafter, the Fawzys expressed a willingness to proceed to arbitration. The trial court entered a judgment of divorce and agreement to arbitrate. The arbitrator granted the Fawzys joint legal custody of the two children, with Christine receiving primary physical custody and Samih receiving specific weekday, weekend, vacation, and holiday parenting time. Samih appealed the arbitrator’s decision to the trial court. The trial court denied Samih’s appeal. The appellate division reversed the trial court’s judgment, reasoning that child-custody and parenting-time issues could not be decided by binding arbitration. The Supreme Court of New Jersey granted certiorari to review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Long, J.)
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