Family Attorneys Deliver Family Solutions – Now So Do Some Court Systems

The Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatcher recently ran an interesting article, New Court Combines Domestic Cases. In upstate NY, the article reports, they have been introducing Integrated Domestic Violence Court.

What’s that? In a nutshell, if family members appear in domestic violence court, any subsequent family legal matters (such as divorce, crimes between family members, custody and visitation issues, etc.) will be heard in that same courtroom, before that same judge.

Here in Florida, we have been gradually implementing throughout our state a variation on that theme. In Florida, we call itUnified Family Court. Under this new paradigm, all family type cases are now heard in a Unified Family Court by the same judge.

Although demanding of our judges and our court clerks, this new court model finally enables and empowers the courts to do what family lawyers have always done: (directly or indirectly) serve the family as a whole.

As part of this transformation of the family court system in Florida, Unified Family Court judges are reportedly receiving more comprehensive training in allied legal disciplines than previously. With a thus specially-trained presiding judge observing the entire family dynamic firsthand, he or she will be in far better position to rule holistically on all family-related legal issues.

As a bonus, the legal process should also be less disruptive and more beneficial for families.