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Wednesday, May 27, 2015


By Effie Belou

"Although the precursor of family court was really child or juvenile court, the framers of family court probably could not have fathomed it would become a tribunal for every family related dispute as it exists today.

The concept actually arose in the late nineteenth century when the first separate juvenile court was established in Chicago.  Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Indiana, under the auspices of the "common law doctrine" also established a separate court to try children.  It is here where the seeds of parens patriae, or protection for children against themselves or their parents began. With the common law system, the law is made not by legislators but by the courts and the judges.  It is often referred to as the "unwritten law."  In substance, common law lies in the published court decisions.  This offered judges within this system wide discretion to shape family law.

By the 1960s, Family Court became firmly established and as Justice Potter Stewart stated in Parham v. J.R. (1979) "issues involving the family are the most difficult that the courts have to face." Hence, it is no surprise that family law cases are some of the most disputable.  Family cases actually placed state and federal regulations against disputes brought by fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children.  Consequently, some intricate legal doctrines have arisen trying to define the responsibilities of the family.  Ironically, these same doctrines have been controversial and given way to deep disagreements..."

For more information on Belou's History of Family Court, click on the link below:

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