Header graphic for print
IAALS Online National Conversations About Continuous Improvement of the American legal System

Families Matter Symposium Report: Recommendations to Improve Family Court Outcomes

Riley Combelic Posted in Honoring Families

The Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) at the University of Baltimore School of Law is a national leader in promoting the concept of a Unified Family Court system, which emphasizes resolving family conflicts in a therapeutic, holistic, and service-based manner. The CFCC recently released a report entitled Families Matter: Recommendations to Improve Outcomes For Children and Families in Court, drafted by Barbara A. Babb, Associate Professor of Law and member of our Honoring Families Initiative Advisory Committee, and Senior Fellow Gloria Danziger.

The report is based on the Families Matter Symposium of June 2010, which brought together an interdisciplinary group of family law experts to identify problems regarding the practice of family law and to make recommendations about promising solutions. The main question at the Symposium was, “How do we radically transform a family court system from one that disrupts and tears apart families to one that helps heal them?”

The report provides a summary of the Symposium and details the suggestions that emerged from the various discussions that took place. Among the suggestions were the following:

  • Outcome data should be collected to evaluate the effectiveness of family court programs and policies;
  • Courts should provide effective assistance to self-represented litigants in family law matters; and
  • The family court system should incorporate interdisciplinary collaboration, including input from lawyers, judges, mediators, mental health professionals, and financial experts, among others.

Riley Combelic is a third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and contributes to IAALS Online. Please direct inquiries about this post to iaals@du.edu.