There was a recent article on ways to improve the efficiency and accessibility in family law, that may have some good ideas that we wanted to share with you to see if some of them could gain some traction! We are interested in knowing your thoughts on the matter, of course, and wanted to share.
If these court procedure substitutes could be put into practice, they might improve domestic cases, for the courts and for both parties involved.
The Idea: Instead of the one party wins, the other party loses in resolving the domestic matter, perhaps the creation of panels—one panel holding a lawyer, mental-health and behavioral professional, and a child advocate—to decide the issues, instead of going to the courts to be awarded support and custody.
This would provide impartial decisions, the panels could be pro bono, and only cases where bias or injustice were found would have the courts involvement. This would lower costs, as well.
The Idea: The party who loses, pays all of the attorney’s fees. If the courts have already made decisions on custody, child support, and other family matters, and a party challenges those decisions, they should pay the court costs and the opposing sides attorney’s fees if they lose.
This would provide quicker resolutions and more reason to compromise. Not only that, the party with less resources would have a better chance for resolution, if they won, than being pushed to dismiss their case due to the other side refusing to settle and stalling, since that party knew they could outspend their adverse party.
The Idea: Jurisdictions could institute clerk’s courts, courts that would be tasked to deal with uncontested custody matters and divorces, and parties who have a settlement agreement already in place.
This would lower legal costs, with parties choosing to go before a less expensive clerk instead of a judge, and free up courts, judges, and lawyers to handle cases that are contested.
Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
The Idea: More user-friendly forms, that a lay-person could fill out. Lawyers could also provide pro bono services that are limited to just filling out the forms. Then the party can take their chances in court.
This would lower costs, again. If the party then chooses to hire the lawyer that helped them fill out the forms, great. This would streamline everything, as the party would fill out the correct documents, and less time is wasted before their issues are heard.
Small Claims Property Division
The Idea: A property division court, with a threshold amount for property division, similar to small claims courts. Regulate this property division, with a reasonable threshold, to the divorce panels, too.
Judicial supervision for large and complex marital estates makes since, but not for estates of lesser value, since, simply put, there would be less time and complexity involved. This, again, would lower the court costs, and with the divorce panels, possibly by more conscientious of the division of assets for the parties involved.
What are you thoughts on these ideas? Please share them with us!
For the full article, please see, ‘5 Ideas to Improve the Family Law System’s Efficiency and Accessibility,’ at this link here: https://familylawyermagazine.com/articles/5-ideas-to-improve-the-family-law-systems-efficiency-and-accessibility/
Fanning Law, LLC Can Help!
We assist individuals and families with family law issues and other legal concerns in Southern Maryland, Washington DC, and throughout the region. For more information about how Fanning Law, LLC can help you and your family, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at www.fanninglawllc.com.