On Thursday March 28th in testimony to the Judiciary Committee a number of people made excellent suggestions about controlling Guardian ad litem costs and fees. Means testing, fee caps, regular bill reporting and … oversight of billing by the management of the Judicial Branch would go a long way towards correcting the freewheeling ways of Guardians ad litem. As we know, these ideas are fairly simple – and not rocket science. Finance and many other Guardian ad litem issues should be fairly simple as no cost problems to fix.
The Judicial Branch faces a significant political problem. Make that HUGE. The political base, the support system, of the Judicial Branch is composed of the Legal Guild, lawyers, Guardians ad litem and Judges. Asking – or demanding – that any part of this base take a smaller, financial cut in divorce cases might be expected to result in a mass disaffection on the part of the Judicial Branch legal guild political base. It might cost the Judicial Branch the political support of the Legal Guild and the divorce industry. It could result in profound alienation of this Guild base with political consequences for the Judicial Branch leadership. The Guardian ad litem reform movement threatens to disrupt the previous balance between Judicial Branch management and their affluent, powerful base – the divorce industry.
This Judicial Branch – lawyer political dynamic might explain the powerful, under the radar opposition to real people oriented Guardian ad litem reform.
The care and feeding of its lawyer base is one explanation about why the Judicial Branch always seems to defer to its “stakeholders”, the divorce industry, lawyers and Guardians ad litem. It may explain why the Judicial Branch allows its divorce industry “stakeholders” to dominate most of its planning committees for Guardian ad litem reform, such as the one from last Summer. It leaves the Judicial Branch paralyzed in the present situation and may explain why it does nothing – or at best the bare minimum. Pressure from the divorce industry not to change versus pressure from the “grass-roots” to change. The Judicial Branch is caught in a terrible bind.
The members of the divorce industry, including Guardians ad litem, make significant amounts of money off of divorcing couples. It is a multi-million dollar industry. Restrictions on the divorce industry of any kind could reduce their incomes. The current situation and its dynamics are in some ways similar to the robber barons of 19th century American history.
LD 522 is nothing less than a license to steal and plunder. It favors the legal Barons; not divorcing families and children. It is a gift from the Judicial Branch to its lawyer base. It allows the predatory wolves to keep their sheep’s clothing!
It will require significant political pressure and moral pressure to overcome this resistance to change for the benefit of our Maine children and families.
For information on how to help stop LD522 from passing contact us at MeGALalertt@gmail.com or find up to date information on Facebook.