NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-6593-04T4
DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES,
E.E. and B.D.,
IN THE MATTER OF P.W. and W.E., Minors
Argued: April 25, 2006 - Decided: April 28, 2006
Before Judges Kestin and Seltzer.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New
Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part,
Bergen County, FN-02-189-05.
Michael F. Lamolino of the Office of the
Public Defender Parental Representation Unit
argued the cause for appellant B.D. (Yvonne
Smith Segars, Public Defender, attorney for
appellants E.E. and B.D.; Mr. Lamolino on
the joint brief).
Howard A. Miller, Designated Counsel,
attorney for appellant E.E., on the joint
John C. Lane argued the cause for respondent
Olivia Belfatto Crisp, Assistant Public
Defender, argued the cause on behalf of the
minors P.W. and W.E. (Yvonne Smith Segars,
Public Defender, Law Guardian; Ms. Crisp, on
Zulima V. Farber, Attorney General, attorney
for Division of Youth and Family Services
(Frances McGrogan, Deputy Attorney General,
on the statement in lieu of brief).
This matter, filed on April 20, 2005, is one of two
proceedings involving the best interests of two children, P.W.
and W.E. The other matter has been pending in North Carolina
since May 21, 2004. Ultimately, in an order entered on July 21,
2005, the New Jersey trial court judge, after considering the
standards of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and
Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), N.J.S.A. 2A:34-53 to -95, and
conferring with the North Carolina judge as required by the
statute, see N.J.S.A. 2A:34-68d, -70b, -81, recognized that
North Carolina was the appropriate jurisdiction to adjudicate
the issues, and dismissed the complaint in this matter without
prejudice. The UCCJEA has been adopted in both New Jersey and
The Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), E.E., and
B.D., filed a joint notice of appeal from the trial court's
order. DYFS has since withdrawn its appeal, in the "belie[f]
that the order currently in place and the process to be followed
in North Carolina adequately address the safety of the minor
children." E.E., the mother of the two children, and B.D., the
biological father of P.W., continue to prosecute the appeal.
J.E., the biological father of W.E. and the plaintiff in the
North Carolina proceeding, resists the appeal. The law guardian
for the children argues that the trial court's order should be
E.E. and J.E. were married in New Jersey on September 2,
1999. They immediately took up residence in North Carolina.
W.E., their son, was born on March 20, 2001. P.W. had been born
on March 3, 1997. E.E., J.E., and the two children apparently
lived together as a family unit in North Carolina until May 4,
On that date, E.E. left the marital home and came to her
parents' home in Waldwick with the children. On May 21, 2004,
J.E. filed a complaint in North Carolina seeking custody of both
children. E.E. and B.D. filed answers and counterclaims for
custody. We were advised at oral argument that the trial of
that matter is scheduled to proceed on Monday, May 1, 2006.
J.E. also filed a complaint for divorce in North Carolina.
J.E. asserts in his brief on appeal that a judgment of divorce
was granted on August 22, 2005, with E.E. participating in the
On April 20, 2005, DYFS filed the complaint and order to
show cause in this matter, based upon an initial referral from a
detective in the Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina police
department reporting E.E.'s allegations that J.E. had physically
and sexually abused P.W. DYFS's investigation disclosed a
sufficient basis, in the Division's estimation, to seek the
order granting it care and supervision of the two children.
E.E. had also sought relief in complaints filed in the
Family Part, Bergen County. One proceeding resulted in an order
entered on December 14, 2004, establishing, pendente lite, the
terms of the parties' custody and visitation, and noting that
"[c]ounsel consent to transferring this matter to the
jurisdiction of the North Carolina Court." Another proceeding
in the Family Part with E.E. as plaintiff and J.E. as defendant
was dismissed on November 16, 2005, for lack of prosecution.
In the course of managing the DYFS proceeding, the trial
court determined, applying the standards of the UCCJEA in the
context of the circumstances to date, that North Carolina had
jurisdiction over all issues bearing upon the best interests of
the children. We are in substantial agreement with the reasons
stated by the trial court for reaching that conclusion. The
arguments advanced by E.E. and B.D. in support of their appeal
from that order are without sufficient merit to warrant
discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).
The July 21, 2005 order of the trial court is affirmed.