Thank you for this article (“Family Law Task Force getting flak for recruitment, ‘insider’ panelists,” Capitol Weekly, Dec. 18). It provides public recognition of several issues long overdue.
I’ve read your “Elkins Task Force” piece (“Family Law Task Force getting flak for recruitment, ‘insider’ panelists,” Capitol Weekly, Dec. 18). Unfortunately, like many efforts to address family law issues, the essential parts of the discussion are, it seems, being drowned out yet again by a cacophony from those whose agendas are far more extensive than their knowledge.
There is a crisis in family law in California, which is a microcosm of the crises in civil government and the “social safety net” in California generally. The family law departments are where the largest number of members of the California public come into contact with the justice system, other than traffic court. Thirty-one years ago, the late Justice Robert Gardner noted a grotesque misallocation of judicial system resources, with family law being “low man on the totem pole.” Since then, unfortunately, no candidate for California governor or legislator has run successfully on a campaign platform plank: “Spend more tax dollars on family court!”, so the intervening years have deepened the problems. The problems, frankly, are going to deepen rapidly in the current state budget situation.
I worked as a Superior Court research attorney in family law 29 years ago; the courts’ work loads have deepened, and the grid-lock tightened, notably since then. The procedural rules which the Elkins appeals court overruled were well-intentioned, but poorly thought out, stop-gap efforts to reduce court backlog and to streamline hearings. Although various advocacy groups wish otherwise, the primary goal of the Elkins Taskforce, as I understand it, is to find ways, consistent with law and the interests of justice, to get all constituents their day, or minutes, in court, not the complete over-haul or reform of substantive family law in California .
I urge that you talk to some judges, or family law attorneys “in the trenches” for a perspective based more on working knowledge, and less upon ideology.
Gould-Saltman Law Offices, LLP
Excellent topic choice and coverage (“Family Law Task Force getting flak for recruitment, ‘insider’ panelists,” Capitol Weekly, Dec. 18).
Even though I’ve been through two bitter divorces and have many critical opinions about the process I look at the “hate group” quote and have to conclude
that he’s more interested in milking his constituency than in improving the system. His involvement in the reforms is likely to be counter-productive.
I also think you deftly displayed the “we-know-best” conduct of the professionals. Good work.