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Key Elkins’ Recommendations for Family Law Courts

Key Elkins’ Recommendations for Family Law Courts

Develop Streamline Procedures for Uncontested Cases & Defaults

The research by the Elkins Report indicates there is a high percentage of divorce cases that could be settled without the people involved appearing before a judicial officer.  Developing streamline procedures for uncontested cases and defaults could help eliminate unnecessary court appearance and reduce the cost and time commitment from the people involved in those case as well as speed up the process dramatically.

Simple Forms for Motions, Discovery, and Couples in Agreement

The number and complexity of forms used for motions, discovery and even agreements have grown over the years often making it difficult to tell which forms are needed or even how they should be used. Frequently used forms should be reviewed to make them clear and easy to use by attorneys and by people representing themselves. These forms should also be easy to find.

Assess and Improve Mechanisms to Handle Perjury

Finding a timely and fair resolution to marriage dissolution cases depends on factual information being presented to the courts, but many litigants feel far too often the information submitted to the courts is false. To combat this problem, the types of sanctions available to judges should be expanded for both attorneys and the parties in the case who intentionally file false statements and information.

Set Time Standards for Divorce Completion

Even though other states have time standards for completion of the dissolution of marriage, California family courts do not.  Rules are needed to set out a framework for timely disposition of family law cases. The Elkins Report set the following time standards as realistic goals for case completion.

 

  • 20% resolved within 9 months
  • 75% resolved within 18 months
  • 90% resolved within 24 months

 

*Currently the average time for a marriage dissolution case in California is 11.7 months without children and 18.2 months for families with children

Provide Culturally Competent Mediation Services

California is an ethnically and culturally diverse state, but current mediation services are not always trained or equipped to consider the social norms from a variety of cultures and sexual orientations.

Source: mediation.com

The Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Reports

For more than a decade, improvements have been recommended through independent reviews by the Judicial Council via the Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Report, as well as legislators, attorneys, judges and the very people using the system. Unfortunately, few of those recommendations have been put into practice. FJAIA is committed to keeping those needed changes in the forefront and advocating for the people who use the family law courts.

The Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Reports

For more than a decade, improvements have been recommended through independent reviews by the Judicial Council via the Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Report, as well as legislators, attorneys, judges and the very people using the system. Unfortunately, few of those recommendations have been put into practice. FJAIA is committed to keeping those needed changes in the forefront and advocating for the people who use the family law courts.