Connecticut’s divorce laws, courts, and judges have come under significant scrutiny in recent weeks. The system is in need of reform.
I’ve practiced in the area of family law for the past 8 and a half years. Right now, my family practice consists of helping parties in a divorce solve problems. I cannot deal with the anger and frustration that comes with some cases. Life is too short.
In no particular order here are my thoughts:
1. There should be a mediation center – not in court. Family relations is overwhelmed. Parties often sit around for hours waiting to speak to a mediator for 15 minutes. Mediations should be scheduled at set times and less rushed. Early intervention works. Combine housing, foreclosure, and family mediators into a building suitable for mediation.
2. If mediation is not successful, then promptly assign hearing dates. Family courts can use more judges but that’s likely not in the cards. Judges resolve problems. They don’t solve them. In the event the parties are unable to take control of their own affairs – prompt resolution is the best course.
3. Create a Guardian Ad Litem office. Pay Guardian Ad Litems through the State. In the event parties need a GAL, they should contribute to the cost on a sliding scale.
4. Eliminate the 90 day waiting period. For some parties, the 90 days is purgatory. They have their affairs in order. They reached a fair and equitable resolution of their affairs. Let them get divorced.
5. Set alimony by guidelines. This works so well for child support. Parties should have certainty in this respect. Alimony disputes often spill into custody disputes. Take away the alimony fight.
Connecticut family courts have great people serving in capacities on the bench, at the bar, in family relations, and as guardian ad litems. They do lots of good within the existing framework. But that framework needs to be fixed.
Maligning Judges, attorneys, and guardian ad litems with vicious attacks is poor advocacy. They aren’t the problem. Structural changes are needed.