Who Goes to The Family Court?
Fewer people each year is the answer to this question. This is a good news story, but not because fewer people are separating and divorcing, which may be your first response to learning that fewer applications are filed in the Family Court these days.
Divorce Agreements That Reduce Legal Fees
It is a good news story because many families are reaching agreement and settling their disputes with the assistance of mediators, collaborative divorce law practitioners and psychologists. In doing so, these families are protecting themselves from expense of significant legal costs, and from escalating conflict which is bad for everyone’s health, and in particular for the health of children. Other families are reaching agreements, with the assistance of co-operative lawyers, in various different ways. As a veteran of the adversarial legal system, all of the alternatives to litigation are positive.
Divorce is an Emotional Time NOT a Legal Issue
Most separating couples do not have complex legal issues to resolve, and very often they do not have any legal issues to resolve. Almost all separating couples have complex emotional issues to resolve, and it is a wise and rational decision for couples to find ways to reach their agreements which do not involve the limits and coercion of the court system, or worst of all having a stranger make long-term decisions for the lives of couples and their children. From my perspective, it is much better that couples invest their financial and energy resources into resolving the emotional fallout of separation, and the practical and financial issues are then much more likely to resolve themselves or to be agreed upon with much less pain and difficulty.
Which Divorcing Couples Go to Court?
For those couples who find their way into the court system, there is significant concern about what is really going on. Often the disputes which find their way into the court are relational disputes, and part of that can be due to high conflict behaviour, resulting from personality disorders, addiction and other hidden factors.
Bill Eddy and the High Conflict Institute
Who is Bill Eddy? The following extract from his website link. “William A. (“Bill”) Eddy IS CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF HIGH CONFLICT INSTITUTE, LLC, IN San Diego, California, AND Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, California. He is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California with over FIFTEEN years’ experience representing clients in family court.”
The work of Bill Eddy and the High Conflict Institute suggests that in high conflict litigation, it is most likely that one or more of the parents/ couple has a personality disorder. So these people are not litigating about law, which is what courts are established to deal with. The court system adds enormous stress to the lives of litigants, and for those with personality disorders it appears likely that such stress causes their behaviour to deteriorate. Unfortunately, the court system has no capacity to identify and deal constructively with adverse behaviours. This is a truly powerful argument for either keeping such people away from the court system, or providing funding, training and structural change to allow the system to understand and accommodate problems that are hidden or otherwise difficult to identify and manage.
If you would like to know more about “Divorce Without Court” in Melbourne just follow the link for more information.
In a recent, thought-provoking article by Bill Eddy that is well worth reading about replacing the Family Court in order to assist families that may become high conflict litigants in a divorce case. Just follow this LINK to the article on the High Conflict Institute’s website.