With the rise in the popularity of the family court concept, the Council recently moved toward a more complete understanding of the concept in all States by securing a grant from the State Justice Institute to analyze State statutory schemes, identify superior family court systems, and conduct a National Family Court Symposium. Symposium participants determined the family court should be an institution that considers the special needs, feelings, and individual rights of the people it serves. They also found that family court proceedings are distinct from other litigation due to the nature of family conflict and relationships. Participants supported the idea that a family court should be a division of a State's court of general jurisdiction and the idea that a family court should facilitate the coordination and management of adjunct agencies providing service s to children and families. They further recommended that the family court be a separate facility to allow for centralized operations and a holistic approach to resource utilization, thatthe family court judiciary manage cases in an orderly manner, that the family court be staffed with persons who have a strong interest and experience in family law, that emphasis be placed on alternatives to the adversarial model, and that judicial appointments consider domestic relations and juvenile law experience. Participants also indicated that family court jurisdiction include divorce, child dependency, delinquency, and adult and juvenile guardianship matters.
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