US state to ‘streamline’ family court cases
May 16, 2017 1 comment
Lawmakers in the US state of Oklahoma have approved a bill which would allow a single judge to oversee all hearings relating to individual families.
If signed into law, the measures outlined in House Bill 1121 would permit district and municipal courts to streamline domestic cases, reducing the number of days the members of troubled families need attend court by consolidating related hearings into single court sessions overseen by one appointed judge. These sessions would tackle different aspects of divorce and separation, non-criminal domestic violence allegations, and arrangements for any children of the family. The latter issue is still commonly referred to as ‘child custody’ in the United States.
More serious criminal cases of domestic violence however would be excluded from the consolidated hearings.
Republic representative Ryan Martinez said the scheme would help individual family court judges gain a deeper undertanding of each family’s particular problems. He stressed however, that it would be voluntary.
“This doesn’t force anybody to do it. It just allows if there are funds available. This is in its infancy, and I don’t deny that.”
The scheme was inspired by a pilot programme in Tulsa County, he explained, where a single domestic violence court has been established.
The bill is now awaiting ratification by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
Photo of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City by taylorandayumi via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
May 16, 2017
Categories: Family Law