Family court system too collegial for justice

newsroom@islandpacket.comMarch 10, 2014 

The recent editorial on a family court judge's courage to unseal Rep. Andy Patrick's divorce case was on point but too understated.

The piece lauded the judge's courage because, "It's not easy to ... go against the wishes of a state lawmaker" because "members of the legislature appoint all state judges ..." It's not a stretch to suppose that they appoint the most agreeable and collegial old friends for those positions.

In closing, the editorial states, "It should take more than a gentlemen's agreement to shroud information from the public."

Anyone who has had experience with the family court -- especially in divorce or child custody cases -- knows it is just that, "a gentlemen's agreement" between the judges and attorneys. Justice, fairness and the facts do not prevail.

Because there is no genuine oversight or accountability, members of the legal community usurp control over these cases for their own benefit, not their clients', creating a $50 billion a year family-law industry.

A random review of 10 recent rulings would reveal that these members of the legal community fly under the radar, effectuating pain and expense for those they are supposed to serve and gathering large fees for themselves.

It's a pervasive and scandalous practice across the country, and one that has been chillingly portrayed in a recently-released film documentary, "Divorce Corp."

The practice is "shrouded" because the foxes keep a close guard on the hen house. This institution is fraught with corruption and overdue for exposure.

Kate McClintic


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