By Martha Chan
Our publisher was given an early screening of the movie Divorce Corp that premiered a couple of weeks ago which presented a fairly bad picture of the family law system. The movie introduces you to high priced divorce professionals who seem incompetent, uncaring and corrupt, including custody valuators, family lawyers, and judges.
The documentary showed several horror divorce stories with great injustice done to one spouse. As an example, one of the victims was a mother who was granted no visitation with her child at all and was told by a judge that she was not allowed to appeal her divorce decision. She appealed, and was put in jail 3 times for appealing. She failed to see why she was not allowed to see her child since she was not a criminal and did not abuse her child. As with the other cases depicted in the film, the other spouse or the lawyers and judges involved were not interviewed.
Then there are claims that elected judges play favoritism towards lawyers who contribute to their election campaign and that some will order the couples to sell their property in order to pay their lawyers.
To an average person, the movie does paint a bad picture. I can see the movie getting support from those who have gone through a divorce and did not get what they want. To some, it is obvious that these are extreme cases, but still they beg the question of why are they are allowed to happen? I manage our facebook page for Divorce Magazine, there is no shortage of complaints about the system and the lawyers on that page. I know perfectly well that divorce is hardly a time or situation where people would be experiencing joy. I think lawyers and dentists are probably two categories of professionals that we all want to avoid.
I have met and heard family lawyers who are for reforming the current legal system. I am not sure that there is an organized movement to do so. But if there is, that needs to be communicated and hopefully input from all parties are solicited. Otherwise the movie is here to challenge the existing system using perhaps some extreme cases that seemingly have gone very wrong. The film presented a very simplified version of what could work based on what happened in Scandinavia. Obviously, looking at other countries should be a part of the reform process. And, would we consider the introduction of mediation and collaborative divorce as an organized movement to reforming the system?
Let me throw this question out there: Is there an organized effort to reform the legal system in a major way? If yes, please let us know. Family Lawyer Magzine would love to publish an article on that. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance.