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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148889 Find in a Library
Title: Courts and Families: A Time of Change
Journal: State Court Journal  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer/Fall 1993)  Pages:27-34
Author(s): H T Rubin; V E Flango
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Grant Number: SJI-90-06E-B-063
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although national court standards have consistently recommended the creation of a family court division in the general jurisdiction trial court to hear a wide range of child and family proceedings, most States have seen no compelling reason to make major changes in their court structures.
Abstract: Only New Jersey (1984) and Vermont (1990) have established a statewide family court system during the past 18 years. Five other States, however, have statewide family courts (Rhode Island, Delaware, South Carolina, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia). The most widely accepted definition of family court requires, at a minimum, jurisdiction over marriage dissolution, juvenile delinquency, and child abuse and neglect cases. A family court should also have jurisdiction over the voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights, adoption proceedings, paternity, child custody and support, and visitation proceedings separate from divorce. Family courts in several States review a relatively small number of mental illness commitment procedures that affect children. Interest in family courts has revived because the domestic relations caseload represents 33 percent of all civil caseloads in general jurisdiction trial courts. The National Center for State Courts conducted a survey to determine the number of cases involving families at selected sites in New Jersey, Virginia, and Utah. Overall for the three sites, 34 percent of court clients reported that a family member experienced more than one family-related proceeding during the past 5 years. Parents involved with abuse and neglect proceedings earlier were involved with divorce and custody matters separate from divorce. Another survey of courts at 150 locations, conducted to identify interest in and progress toward improved case coordination, found that 71 percent of respondents believed it was important to know whether family members were currently or previously involved in court actions involving the family. The authors emphasize the need for information on other cases involving the family and the need to coordinate these cases with concurrent cases. They also recommend that courts review their approaches to judicial assignments in juvenile, domestic relations, and family courts and that information systems be designed to improve case management. 17 notes and 2 figures
Main Term(s): Juvenile courts
Index Term(s): Case management; Caseload management; Court case flow management; Delaware; District of Columbia; Family courts; Hawaii; New Jersey; Rhode Island; South Carolina; State courts; Utah; Vermont; Virginia
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