• What is Distinction in Family Court?
This website is for those who have had experience with Family Court. It aims to provide citizen review of the performance of Family Courts and how well they have protected children and vulnerable adults. The information exchanged on this site will be used to award certain courts with honors of distinction and to encourage accountability for others. It will provide an educative function for litigants researching the past performance of players in their local courts.
• Why is Distinction in Family Courts necessary?
First time litigants enter Family Courts expecting an objective, professional forum, with fair and neutral professionals who are primarily concerned with the welfare of children. What they find are understaffed and over taxed courts, where services are minimal and the pressures to settle are great. Cases tend to get pushed through overloaded court calendars without due consideration. Often the safety concerns of children and vulnerable adults are overlooked. In the haste of this process, court professionals make decisions on the basis of bias rather than a thorough analysis of the facts of each case. Psychological labels abound, and litigants find themselves required by the court to pay enormous amounts of money to ancillary and quasi-judicial court-related mental health professionals who are unregulated and provide services no litigant requests or benefits from. Litigants are ordered to pay huge fees to child attorneys or guardians who fail to protect their young clients. Particularly difficult cases sometimes continue until the last child reaches the age of majority.
Many U.S. Family Courts are having 'iatrogenic' effects on families, leaving them worse off physically, financially and emotionally for having participated. These iatrogenic effects have been documented in several studies, which continue to be updated. Your input is important in tracking current trends.
• Give your Family Court professionals each a grade: A-F.
Distinction in Family Courts has prepared a questionnaire for voluntary completion by members of the public about their Family Court experiences. We invite you to share your experiences, your problems and your ideas on how to improve the performance of our Family Courts.
You may submit a completed questionnaire on this website or you may print it out and mail it to us at Distinction in Family Courts, 1731 Howe Ave, #168 Sacramento, CA 95825-2209.
You can view the grades for your county by clicking on View Court Professional's Report Cards at the top of this page.