Family Court Review

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Latest documents

  • July 2019
  • Court‐Based Interventions in Spain for Families in Divorce Transition: Challenges in the Implementation of (Co)‐Parenting Coordination

    Families facing separation or divorce in Spain encounter a number of obstacles, including a primarily adversarial and slow justice system, nonspecialized courts and judges, and a lack of resources to help them through the process. Recent legislation at the regional level (autonomous communities) is moving toward emphasizing shared parental responsibility and introducing parenting plans, while at the national level, legislation advances slowly. One of the main challenges professionals are facing in high‐conflict couple separation is protecting children from the effects of being in the middle of their parents’ conflict. Traditional psychological, legal, and social services are insufficient to support parents and protect their children from interparental hostile conflict—which can be exacerbated by litigation, professional intervention, domestic violence, or addiction. This article illustrates, through a case study, the implementation of parenting coordination in Spain. Different jurisdictions in Spain are slowly implementing (co‐)parenting coordination, an in‐depth intervention designed to support these families. The objective is to help families focus on children's needs and follow the court‐approved parenting plans or court orders, reduce relitigation, and improve parental communication and conflict resolution skills. This article analyzes different aspects and challenges relating to the implementation of parenting coordination in Spain. Recommendations are then made to address them.

  • Guiding Principles for Family Justice Programs

    The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and Relate, UK, co‐convened a 24‐hour consultation at St George's House, Windsor, UK, on modern family justice issues across Europe. This article identifies a preliminary set of guiding principles for family justice programs developed by consultation participants.

  • Supporting Children and Parents in Sweden through Collaboration Teams

    Coordinated, multidisciplinary collaboration teams have been developed in Sweden with the purpose of preventing or mitigating conflicts between parents and promoting effective parental cooperation. The screening and assessment tool, known as the Family Law Detection of Overall Risk Screen (FL‐DOORS), was used to assess the children's and parents’ situation and need for support or protection. The overall results based on the children's and the parents’ situations and experiences demonstrate that a collaboration team is a promising model. The development project (2014–2017) has demonstrated the importance of offering children and families preventative support at an early stage in order to avoid prolonged and conflict‐ridden separations.

  • Why Listening to Children and Young People is Important in Family Justice

    During the last 30 years, there has been a growing body of evidence indicating that children and young people often feel marginalized when their parents are making critical decisions that will shape their young lives, and they are calling for family justice professionals to hear their voices. This article explores the research evidence, examines the relevant theories about child development, and demonstrates how a focus on age‐related competency fails to take account of children's subjective meanings about their lives. The authors consider a model of participation first designed to understand adult participation in government and show how this can be usefully applied to understanding children's participation in family justice.

  • Family Relationships and Family Justice in Europe: Changes and Challenges

    The huge diversity in family life and living arrangements across the globe has far‐reaching implications for the ways in which families are supported and family justice is administered. Given the serious concerns about the number of relationships that break down and the potentially detrimental impacts on children and their parents, it is essential to understand the triggers threatening the stability of couple relationships, including the financial stresses caused by the recent global recession and accompanying fiscal austerity. Since family relationships are central to the psychological, emotional, social, and economic well‐being of adults and children everywhere, policy makers and practitioners should collaborate across international boundaries to develop interventions that promote family well‐being, secure the best interests of children, and ensure the conditions and systems in which families can thrive.

  • Harnessing the Power of Data to Improve Family Justice: A New Nuffield Family Justice Observatory For England and Wales

    A pilot Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales is being launched in Spring 2019. Its overarching aim is to address concerns about the limited and uncertain place of empirical evidence in the family justice system. The Observatory will focus on providing intelligence about how the system is working, especially through the accelerated use of electronic population level data on family justice cases. Drawing on collaborative relationships between data providers and users, as well as policy and practice colleagues, the Observatory will improve collective understanding of the needs of children and families and how they are met by the family justice system.

  • Partnership in Practice: European Perspectives
  • Finding the Right Support: One Size Doesn't Fit All

    Support for families in the context of separation and divorce has evolved significantly over the last 30 years in the UK. There is growing acceptance that “one size doesn't fit all”—families need different support at different times, and often a combination of services. Relationships Scotland, a network of 21 Member Services, is able to customize and integrate support to meet the needs of each particular family at any stage of relationship difficulty. This article describes the impact of tailored support for one family, as an example of the potential benefit of community‐based, integrated, and flexible support provision.

  • Hearing the Voice of the Child: Current Practice in Family Courts in Germany

    German family courts have a long‐standing tradition of hearing the child's voice when proceedings affect the child. This article aims to provide an overview of the German procedural rules. The current role and practice of child hearings in family courts and the direct effects on the child are discussed in detail. The perceived benefits, challenges, and pitfalls are deliberated from the viewpoint of the psychological expert. Hearing the voice of the child in person is increasingly viewed as beneficial to the proceedings if the judges and other professionals involved possess the necessary qualifications and competence.

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