Canada Recognizes a Problem with Family Courts – Will Maine?

Maine is not the only area where there are very real issues surrounding the family court system. In Canada – where there has been ongoing problems within their family court system – the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that an overhaul of the system needs to take place. That the family courts have operated in a dysfunctional way for decades much as they have here in Maine. In Maine though there is a resistance to any kind of much needed reform from our courts and the divorce industry – this is one of the reasons why in Maine there is a push for reform of the broken Guardian ad litem system.

Presented below is some of the article from the Globe and Mail:

Report to Supreme Court chief justice calls for family law overhaul

An unreleased report commissioned by the country’s top judge is urging a radical overhaul of Canada’s family law system.

The report to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, scheduled for release next month, calls for restructuring the family law system from the ground up, with a focus on streamlining the court process and ending a fixation on combat.

The report, from a committee headed by Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell, goes on to make more than two dozen recommendations, including the creation of specialized judges who can shepherd a family law dispute from beginning to end.

The family law system has been under attack for much of the past two or three decades over litigation that drags out and the destructive effect of the adversarial process on couples who are vulnerable and prone to go on the attack. And the inordinate costs of litigation have led to a massive increase in the number of litigants who represent themselves – now as much as 70 or 80 per cent.

A copy of the report, obtained by The Globe and Mail, says that estranged spouses and their children are seriously damaged by the adversarial system; and that judges, lawyers and law schools must embrace a culture of mediation and settlement.

The ground-breaking report also recommends the imposition of painful cost awards against litigants who behave badly or impede settlements.

Full story: Globe and Mail

Additional material on family law as presented by the Globe and Mail: Supreme Court Leadership

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