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Sunday, April 30, 2017
Recently, we all watched the fiasco of SB #1049 go down where rogue leaders of the CT Coalition for Family Court Reform tried to slip a bill through the Finance Committee rather than the Judiciary Committee. They did this after members of the Judiciary Committee quite sensibly refused to hear proposed bills from The Coalition that were destructive and damaging to women.
The only thing I can say about the Finance Committee at this point is: "What were they thinking?"
Sunday, July 24, 2016
The 7 suggested reforms in Swift's article are as follows:
"1. Limit the power of legislative leaders.
Connecticut’s speaker of the House and president of the Senate have close to absolute power in deciding what pieces of legislation make it to the floor for a vote in the General Assembly. For a variety of reasons, they can and do kill bills that would pass, sometimes by wide margins, if a vote was actually allowed. Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s bill to bring more transparency to state tax breaks (see No. 4) died in the Senate this year because it was never called for a vote despite widespread support. Last year, former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan blocked a bipartisan jobs bill from making it to the floor in retaliation for the Senate’s opposition to a minimum wage bill he was championing. When “roll-your-own” tobacco shop owners funneled illegal campaign cash into Donovan’s bid for U.S. Congress, they did so based on assurances from his staff that the speaker’s office could block legislation that would have increased taxes on their product..."
Sunday, February 1, 2015
According to Bill Sarno,
"The changes enacted last year as to how the state’s family courts operate appear to be just the first steps in reforming a system which some critics have described as incestuous, secretive and having greatly distressed some families, both financially and emotionally.
While much of the impetus for the changes initially came from the legislature, with Reps. Minnie Gonzalez and Edwin Vargas of Hartford leading the fight for passage of the reform bill, the state judicial branch now also indicates its increased willingness to improve and streamline how it treats family matters and is introducing several bills this session.
Gonzalez, who has campaigned for the system’s reform for five years, is also not done. She also is sponsoring new bills this year that call for additional continued changes in the system with Vargas as her co-sponsor. “I have submitted nine bills this session,” she said, which demonstrates her commitment to overhauling the current system.
According to Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, program manager of communications for the judiciary, the reforms called for in Public Act 14-3, the bill passed during last year’s legislative session, have already been implemented by the family court system as it pertains to them. The bill required, among other things, that the judiciary establish a code of conduct and a sliding fee schedule for attorneys for minor children (AMC) and guardians ad litem (GAL). The latter are individuals, often attorneys, who the courts appoint to protect the interests of minor children in custody cases, while the former focus on legal issues."
For more information on this article, please click on the link below:
Friday, May 9, 2014
By Jane Addams
I am writing to you to share with you my ideas about how to improve the Connecticut Family court system and to make the divorce/custody experience a healthier one for everyone involved, and also make it more effective and efficient overall. I would appreciate any feedback on my ideas or assistance in growing these ideas into a bill.
1. We need effective Parenting Education Classes, and we need to encourage parents to attend them.
The current Parenting Education Classes that are required for divorce should be improved and extended. The classes need more in-depth explanations of the impact that parental conflict has on children and the parents. I also feel that all parents who are engaged in a contested divorce with children or who are involved in the custody process need to be required to engage in co-parenting therapy. Such co-parenting therapy should extend into the whole time the parties are engaged in the court proceedings.
I also feel that the loop holes that allow a parent to opt out of the requirement to take a Parenting Education Class needs to be tightened and monitored closely. The court should make it a priority to ensure every parent is reminded/educated on the potential impact their legal proceedings can have on them and their children. This will help motivate and those encourage parents who are able to develop insight through the Classes about the effect of their behavior on their children to do better. For those who need assistance, it will keep these parents focused on doing what is best for their children and themselves which will minimize the negative impact that conflictual parental court proceeding have on children and parents.
In the end, good attendance at the Parenting Education Classes will make both children and parents healthier. This will help the court system operate more effectively and efficiently, saving time and money, because it will be less bogged down by motions and cases where parents are not focusing on what is best for their children and themselves.
It will help prevent, what is unfortunately too common, situations where parents are tying up the court by using it for revenge. I base this recommendation on the simple premise that the natural "normal" and healthy human state allows for cooperation and compromise, particularly in regards to making decisions about children.
Along the same lines, anytime parents can not communicate and develop an agreement, this is an indication that there are underlying "problems" that need to addressed. And as long as these root issues are not addressed than the conflict will continue, despite any well meaning court order or GAL intervention, etc.
2. Children should receive counseling if their parents are engaged in high conflict divorce proceedings.
Children also be required to receive therapeutic support the whole time their parents are engaged in contested court proceedings. Whenever there is conflict between parents, a child will be caught in the middle and this will absolutely cause painful feelings that need to be addressed immediately or these feelings will have a residual effect on the child.
Psychological research has shown that the quicker the support a person with emotional/mental issues receives, the more effective the help. The therapist who is assigned to support the children is not only a person who helps the children process and manage their feelings, this person can also be an advocate for the child, once again, helping everyone involved keep the child's best interest as a priority.
I base this suggestion on the simple premise that when a child is experiencing additional negativity in her life, then she needs additional positive support to heal from it and prevent it from becoming a residual issue.
3. Family Relations Counselors should be required to attend CEU training.
I recommend that anyone involved, working for, or contracted by the Family Court system be required to attend CEU training, particularly in regard to sensitivity/psychology/child development/human service classes, with built-in incentive programs that reward healthy and timely handling of cases to help them also stay focused and motivated to keep children's and parent's best interest as top priority.
I also recommend some sort of moral boosting stress reduction initiative be implemented in the Family Court system This will help combat the apathy and corruption that is an epidemic in the Family court system. It is hard for Family Court workers to do their jobs properly if they are stressed out and disconnected from the consequences of their actions.
And once again, whatever training they receive during the education is not effective to prevent apathy and corruption from seeping into the system. They need constant reminders as we all do. I base this suggestion on the fact that the only way to truly improve interactions between people is to ensure that both parties are getting their needs fulfilled. Parents need help and support to focus on what is best and so do the workers. I think this idea will help make the Family Court reforms more palatable to all involved.
I welcome additional thoughts and responses to this proposal. Please leave your ideas in the comments section below.