Pardon the twenty-day hiatus; had to get through tax season, and some business issues. I also started but didn't finish a couple of long pieces, which will yet see the light of day here, having to do with what needs to be done, by government, lawyers, and YOU, readers, the public, to salvage a usable family law system from the rapidly unraveling social safety net.
On that "note", a pair of uncommonly frank footnotes in a recent California appellate opinion note the long-standing problem of judicial assignments in family law matters, (see notes 8 and 11) echoing the "low-man-on-the-totem pole" complaint of Justice Robert Gardner in Marriage of Brantner, some thirty-two years ago:
"Actually, in its use of courtroom time the present judicial process seems to have its priorities confused. Domestic relations litigation, one of the most important and sensitive tasks a judge faces, too often is given the low-man-on-the-totem-pole treatment, quite often being fobbed off on a commissioner. One of the paradoxes of our present legal system is that it is accepted practice to tie up a court for days while a gaggle of professional medical witnesses expound to a jury on just how devastating or just how trivial a personal injury may be, all to the personal enrichment of the trial lawyers involved, yet at the same time we begrudge the judicial resources necessary for careful and reasoned judgments in this most delicate field—the breakup of a marriage with its resulting trauma and troublesome fiscal aftermath. The courts should not begrudge the time necessary to carefully go over the wreckage of a marriage in order to effect substantial justice to all parties involved. "
The Connecticut legislature passes, and a Republican governor signs, a same sex-marriage bill, and Maine appears on the verge of approving one; there's even rumblings in Rhode Island.
An eight-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia is allowed, finally, to end her arranged marriage-in-absentia (arranged by her father) to a 50 year old man.
6 hours ago