Chapter

A Forum for Every Fuss: The Growth of Court Services and ADR Treatments for Family Law Cases in the United States

Jessica Pearson

in Cross Currents

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198268208
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683442 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268208.003.0023
A Forum for Every Fuss: The Growth of Court Services and ADR Treatments for Family Law Cases in the United States

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Court cases involving domestic relations are the largest and fastest growing of state court civil caseloads, comprising an estimated 25–50 per cent of all civil actions. Domestic relations cases are defined as those involving divorce, child support, custody, domestic violence, paternity, adoption, visitation, and interstate child custody. To deal with overburdened dockets, protect children from the harmful effects of adversarial proceedings, and accommodate the rising tide of allegations of dysfunction and the declining use of lawyers in family law cases, courts turned to alternative dispute resolution generally and mediation in particular. This chapter describes how courts in the United States have responded to the surge in domestic relations filings in families increasingly characterised by poverty and its attendant risks and dysfunctions. It examines the legal, political, and representation factors that affect how courts have responded to the deluge of domestic relations cases, including the trend toward joint custody and access, the aggressive enforcement of child support, and the trend toward self-representation.

Keywords: United States; court cases; domestic relations; divorce; poverty; mediation; dispute resolution; joint custody; child support

Chapter.  8152 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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