Family Law Is Broken, Let’s Fix It

An excerpt from this article:

I, like so many of my legal colleagues, are fed up. And you guessed it, we’re not going to take it anymore. I’ll explain how we’re turning this frustration into action in a moment. But first, let me explain to those who have not experienced the divorce industry why divorce must change:

1) Misaligned incentives (or at least the appearance of them). Most family law attorneys are honest, well-intentioned professionals. But this does not change the fact that the more conflict, questions and paperwork they generate the more money they make. Let me be clear: I don’t believe most attorneys are intentionally inflating bills. But even the appearance of such a situation hurts the chances of a peaceful solution. Let’s stop litigating emotion. It only leads to disappointed clients, drained savings accounts, and, even worse, kids who end up caught in the middle.

2) “Traditional” solutions in an untraditional world. According to Pew Research, less than half of kids live in a “traditional” family. Yet in many places, laws, courts and societal norms only provide “traditional” answers no matter how complex the puzzle. You can’t really blame the court system, it’s built to serve the masses. Divorcing couples — even if working with an attorney — must take ownership of their divorce and what their family’s unique situation requires.

3) Asymmetrical information. Most families entering the divorce process have no idea what they’re getting into. The courts do. Attorneys do. But since most of those who divorce will only divorce once, they have little understanding of how the process really works let alone how to shop for professional help. And since accurate data on the cost of divorce, settlement rates, etc. is normally not collected (for one reason, see #4) and certainly not conveniently available, it is nearly impossible to be an informed consumer when it comes to divorce.

4) Underfunded family courts. Most family law courts are drowning in red tape, unfunded mandates and over-flowing caseloads. Despite the rising costs inherent in points #1-3 above, funding simply has not kept up. The number of complicated cases continues to grow, but the resources to serve them do not.

5) We still think divorce is a legal issue. And to a degree, of course, it is. But is that what causes us the pain? Is it the legally-required paperwork that prevents people from having a calm, peaceful and thoughtful divorce? Nope. It’s usually the emotional issues — driven by Puppy Brain — that wreaks havoc on our lives, our finances and our relationships. Until we change this mindset that divorce equals law (and therefore lawyers, big legal bills, fighting, courtrooms, and so on), we don’t have a chance to change how divorce is done.

This list is nowhere near comprehensive. There are so many more issues. So many, in fact, that a feature-length documentary, Divorce Corp., was produced to catalog them. Even if we disagree on the finer points or causes, nearly everyone who interfaces with the family law system understands it’s not working.

So what are we going to do about it?

Read more HERE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *