Generally, FD dockets may be filed by parties with children in a domestic relationship or those that are marred but have not yet filed a FM or matrimonial matter for a divorce. Through the FD docket decisions regarding child support and even child custody and parenting time may be made. Generally, one part files a complaint and the other party is served. Thereafter, there is likely a hearing in front of a hearing officer, not a Judge, who is hired by the county to have such hearings, to deal with for instance child support. Child support will be calculated based on guidelines and the information presented at the hearing that was previously requested regarding income of the parties. The parties have to bring to the hearing their last three paystubs and income tax returns. The hearing officer will request information on parenting time as well, what has been the status quo and what the parties may agree upon as regards custody and parenting time. If the parties cannot agree they are sent for custody and parenting time mediation. Thereafter, if they can agree on a custody and parenting time order, they sign off on that order and that is what will control for the future. If they cannot agree, their case will be schedule with a Judge, at this juncture, parties may wish to place into the record proofs and certifications dealing with custody. Alternatively, the parties may file an independent motion regarding child custody and parenting time to get their information in front of the court for its consideration. Alternatively, a party that is married, may determine it is best to just file a motion for custody and parenting time under the FM docket and file a matrimonial divorce matter so that custody and parenting time are considered as part of the divorce matter. They may wish to also then propose the hiring of an expert to do a best interest evaluation as to the child to determine what is in the best interest as regards custody and parenting time. A risk assessment may also be proposed if the other party has drug or alcohol or domestic violence issues or other issues as regards what is in the best interest for child custody and parenting time of the child.
Jan 12, 2016 @ 12:08 PM — by Michael Green