Thursday, April 29, 2010

One Party Self-Represented In More Than 75 Percent of Family Law Cases

Key Statistic Omitted from Elkins Task Force Final Report

Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim State Bar of California Office of the Chief Trial Counsel, Joseph Robert Carlucci Deputy Chief Trial Counsel, Patsy J. Cobb Deputy Chief Trial Counsel, Michael John Glass Deputy Chief Trial Counsel, Alan Bernard Gordon Assistant Chief Trial Counsel, Melanie J. Lawrence Assistant Chief Trial Counsel, Kristen Lyn Ritsema Senior Trial Counsel, Kimberly Gen Kasreliovich Deputy Trial Counsel, California State Bar,
Task Force Whitewashes Critical Statistic
In many California communities, more than 75 percent of family court cases have at least one self-represented party, according to the Elkins Task Force Final Report and Recommendations [pdf], released this month by the Judicial Council.

"Given the complexity of family law issues, why do people represent themselves? All too often they have no choice...What is at stake in the family court process are long lasting decisions that affect people's most fundamental and important aspects of their lives."

What the report conveniently doesn't mention, and apparently whitewashes is the number of family court cases in which one side has an attorney and the other doesn't. Based on our research and anecdotal evidence, that is the critical statistic.