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NCJ Number: 64644 Find in a Library
Title: DOMESTIC RELATIONS - A JUDICIAL WASTELAND
Journal: JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JOURNAL  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1979)  Pages:3-10
Author(s): J J DELANEY
Corporate Author: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Reno, NV 89507
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURTS ARE OFTEN CONDUCTED IN AN INEFFECTIVE MANNER AND VIEWED UNFAVORABLY BY JUDGES, ATTORNEYS, AND LITIGANTS. METHODS FOR IMPROVING THESE COURTS ARE SUGGESTED.
Abstract: BECAUSE DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT DECISIONS HAVE GREAT IMPACT ON THE FAMILY, PARTICULARLY CHILDREN, REFORMS MUST BE INSTITUTED SO THAT COMPETENT JUDGES WILL BE ATTRACTED TO THE FIELD. JUDGES MUST HAVE MANAGABLE CASELOADS, A MAXIMUM OF 1,000 CASES ANNUALLY. SPECIALISTS SHOULD BE USED FOR CASES INVOLVING DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY SO THAT FINANCIAL ASSESSMENTS ARE NOT THE JUDGE'S RESPONSIBILITY. MORE TIME SHOULD BE ALLOTTED TO INITIAL HEARINGS ON TEMPORARY ORDERS REGARDING CUSTODY, VISITATION, AND FINANCIAL MATTERS SINCE THIS STAGE OFTEN DETERMINES THE FUTURE COURSE OF LITIGATION AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. FAMILY COURTS SHOULD AFFORD LITIGANTS A HEARING ON TEMPORARY ORDERS WITHIN 2 WEEKS OF FILING A MOTION. FAMILY COUNSELING SHOULD BE REQUIRED PRIOR TO A HEARING ON DECREE OF DISSOLUTION IN ORDER TO ACQUAINT PARENTS AND CHILDREN WITH THE PROBLEMS THEY MAY ENCOUNTER IN THEIR NEW LIFESTYLE. WHEN DISAGREEMENTS OVER CUSTODY OCCUR, AN INVESTIGATION CAN BE ORDERED. THIS CAN BE CONDUCTED BY THE COURT'S PROBATION STAFF, A PRIVATE AGENCY, OR A PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY, SUCH AS THE JUVENILE PROBATION FIELD OFFICE. DOMESTIC RELATIONS LITIGATION CAN CONTINUE FOR YEARS AFTER THE DECREE IS ISSUED. MANY LITIGANTS CANNOT AFFORD LEGAL COUNSEL BUT HAVE LEGITIMATE PROBLEMS INVOLVING CHILD SUPPORT, VISITING RIGHTS, OR HARASSMENT. A TRAINED CLERK OR PARALEGAL COULD HANDLE MANY OF THESE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS WITHOUT CAUSING INVOLVED PARTIES TO RESORT TO A HEARING. THE ARTICLE SUGGESTS SEVERAL STAFF SERVICES TO IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE FAMILY COURT. INCLUDING CUSTODY INVESTIGATIONS, FAMILY COUNSELING, AND HIRING JUDICIAL ASSISTANTS, ORDER CLERK, DOCKET CLERK, AND PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANTS TO ADVISE ON MEDICAL, FINANCIAL, AND PSYCHIATRIC MATTERS. THESE RECOMMENDATIONS COULD BE IMPLEMENTED WITHOUT CHANGES IN COURT RULES WITH SUPPORT OF THE LOCAL BAR ASSOCIATION. A CASE FLOWCHART FOR A DISSOLUTION DECREE AND POSTDISSOLUTION PROCEEDINGS IS PROVIDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Caseload management; Child custody; Court management; Family counseling; Family courts; Family support; Marital problems; Paralegals
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64644

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