Sunday, November 30, 2008

What Would You Like to Know About Indiana's Courts?

Quite a while back I was reading the Ohio Family Law Blog and ran across Understanding the Courts: Family Relations Department of the Domestic Relations Court of Montgomery County, Ohio.

Indiana law provides for domestic relations courts. We do not require them but only allow them:

IC 31-12-1-1 Determination of necessity to establish court
Sec. 1. (a) This chapter applies only in judicial circuits in which the judges of the superior and circuit courts determine that:
(1) the social conditions in the county; and
(2) the number of domestic relations cases in the courts;
make the procedures provided in this chapter necessary for the full and proper consideration of the cases and to carry out this chapter.
(b) The majority of the judges of the superior and circuit courts in each judicial circuit shall make the determination under subsection (a) annually in January.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.4.
In the area surrounding Madison County, no county has set up a domestic relations court.

I do not read the domestic relations courts to be the same as the family court concept:

Indiana's Family Court Project is not just about models of court structure and programming; it is a concept for dealing with children and families in the court system. The family court concept is based on the significance of family in our culture and our legal system. It recognizes the unique stresses and safety issues in family litigation, the role of the family in affecting individual behavior, and the particularized need for timeliness and consistency in judicial rulings involving children. It acknowledges the need to involve the whole family in addressing delinquency, child endangerment, and other safety issues.

The family court concept maintains that case coordination is often needed to avoid uninformed, inconsistent or delayed rulings for families with multiple cases in the court system. The family court concept encourages parties and attorneys to fully disclose information about the family's legal cases in order to obtain a complete and long-lasting resolution to the family's situation. The concept promotes cooperation between the courts in referring, coordinating, and/or providing services to indigent and at-risk families.

The family court concept emphasizes a holistic and non-adversarial approach to problem solving. It involves an open, common sense, and helping approach to the resolution of legal issues affecting children and families, within the parameters of due process of the law.

Of the family courts, there are twenty-three counties who have adopted this program (out of our total of 92). The closest is Henry County but I have yet to have any experience with this court. This PDF document is Henry County's mission statement.

Since we do not have a domestic relations court in the local area, that same kind of post is out of the question. In fact, I do not think one post would be enough to cover even Madison County's courts with family law jurisdiction.

Madison County has four courts with jurisdiction over family law matters: Madison Circuit Court, and Madison Superior Courts 1 through 3.

Delaware County is the same but they have five courts which can hear family law matters.

If there is enough interest, I will post on the courts I do regularly appear before. In the past month that would include Madison Superior Court 1, Grant County Superior Court 2, and Delaware Circuit Court 2. Next month sees me back in Delaware County Circuit 2 and 5, Madison Superior Court 3, Henry County Circuit Court, and Madison County Superior Court 2.

No comments: