Saturday, December 1, 2007

Following up on Family Law: Indiana Statutes on Domestic Relations Alternative Dispute Resolution

After I wrote Family Law: Indiana Statutes on Domestic Relations Alternative Dispute Resolution, I spoke with the court administrator for the Madison County Unified Courts about the ADR statute. It seems our Unified Courts have considered the program but have not finalized a plan.

The court administrator mentioned one hold up being resistance from the local bar. That the program would drain fund for attorney fees. Since the statute says the charge is to be $20.00, I find it hard to believe that we are opposing any such program. Since I know we have not had a county bar meeting in over a year, I wonder who is speaking for the local bar.

If I can find some time this week, I will see what is going on in the surrounding counties. For those with any information on the subject of Madison or other counties, feel free to use the "Post a Comment" link below.

About mediation/conciliation efforts, the English have some results on their usage. Family Law Week blog reports in In-court conciliation: not quite a roaring success? that "New research by Liz Trinder & Joanne Kellett from UEA shows that 40% of agreements reached at court through Cafcass & similar intervention needed further litigation...." While Family Lore published In-Court Conciliation about the same report:

I would say that these findings are in line with my own experience. There have been occasions when I have attended hearings in cases where the parties were so far apart that it seemed impossible that any agreement could be reached, only to find that the CAFCASS officer had brought them together. Of course, success rates can vary, depending upon a number of factors, not least the skills of the CAFCASS officers involved and the time they have available to each case. Typically each conciliation meeting is allowed about thirty minutes - to expect all matters to be resolved long-term in such a short time is obviously a little unrealistic, although an agreement reached in conciliation can be the catalyst for better relations between the parents.
All good points to remember if we consider such a program locally. I would think that if we get a plan for court sponsored ADR that the plan must include the means to evaluate its success.

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