Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2014

Abstract

Family courts are not likely to disappear, as they currently constitute the largest proportion of trial court filings in most states. It appears as though family courts have become an emergency room for family problems. Thus, we need to enhance our efforts to improve the family justice system. In order to revamp family courts most effectively, there must be a focus on the creation of unified family courts that are grounded in therapeutic jurisprudence and the ecology of human development. This framework allows for a more responsive and holistic approach to families' legal and underlying nonlegal needs. The goal of a unified family court is to aim to improve the lives of families and children through judicial action, informal court proceedings, alternative dispute resolution, and the provision of appropriate social services.

Key Points for the family Court Community:

• The need for family court reform;

• An underlying theoretical foundation to guide the family court reform process;

• Employing therapeutic jurisprudence to ensure an outcome that can positively affect the lives of the families and children involved in each legal proceeding;

• Utilizing the ecology of human development to assist with obtaining a holistic view of families' legal and underlying nonlegal issues;

• A blueprint to create a unified family court to provide an effective, efficient, comprehensive resolution to each family's dispute.

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