Divorce Task Force

A task force named Elkins was appointed in May 2008 to fix family law in California. The 38 judges, lawyers and court employee members of the task force are currently considering the public comment, which is being accepted until December 4 to their 100 proposals issued October 1, 2009. The committee will meet again in San Francisco February 1 and 2 and will accept comment in person or by email. In person commentators must register by January 26.

One woman, at the October 22 meeting, told the task force, “First thing in any Divorce, if people have children, is to sit them down to work out a parenting plan. If they can’t or won’t, assign them to a committee.” That would cut down the time that “rancor and bitterness set in.” Last May, two women were murdered by their children’s fathers, and two children were murdered recently in a custody related murder-suicide. In the last year, several men and one woman were sentenced in criminal cases involving murder or mayhem that dealt with child custody.

“The system forces you into combat,” said another woman.

The task force might recommend changing those ugly, fighting words, “custody” and “visitation” to “parenting plans.” That mild-mannered verbiage was rejected by the California legislature in 1989, but 12 other states have adopted it, including Montana, Texas and Florida.

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