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Can you sue your ex over your child's mistake? No, says NJ court

One of the most common problems divorcing parents face is reconciling the differences between each other's parenting style. In most cases, both parents want the best for their children, but the personality clashes that led to divorce in the first place often manifest themselves in the ways parents try to care for their kids.

In case you were ever wondering whether or not you could sue your ex-partner for when your child messes up, a New Jersey appeals court has given an answer. The case in question is a reminder of how challenging it can be for former spouses to come to an agreement about an appropriate parenting plan.

In 2009, before a trip to South America, a New Jersey father reportedly indicated to his ex-wife that their two sons should not be in his home while he was out of town. However, according to a lawsuit filed by the father, one of the sons went against the mother's wishes and threw a party in the father's residence.

The father said that after he returned home, he found that someone had taken cash and more than $38,000 in jewelry from the residence. The dad sued the mom for negligence, claiming that she failed to stop the 17-year-old son from going into the home.

The appeals court pointed out that there is no law in New Jersey to address the matter of negligent supervision as it relates to this particular case. The appellate court upheld a previous ruling that dismissed the father's lawsuit.

Parents in New Jersey can create detailed parenting plans that take into account the possibility of certain parental decisions, but a court will have to approve the arrangement. Divorcing parents should speak with a family law attorney to ensure that their parenting plan is in accordance with the court's expectations.

Source:, "Parent can't sue other parent when child screws up, New Jersey court rules," Feb. 6, 2014

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