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Is it time for Washington State to have a separate family court?

In Washington, lawsuits related to bankruptcy, maritime and copyright disputes are heard by judges considered experts in their respective fields. While nearly 40 percent of cases in Washington's courts are related to family law, these family law issues are not always heard by a judge considered an expert in the subject.

Recently, the possibility of a separate family court in Washington was discussed at a forum comprised of dignitaries from various state departments, including the Washington Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, the State Supreme Court, the Center for Youth and Justice, the Department of Social and Health Services, and others.

Several significant issues were addressed by the panel. A major point of discussion was the need for judges who have sound knowledge of the best practices in this area of law. With judges employing massive discretion and often dealing with high levels of ambiguity, stress was laid on the need for appropriate judges to hear divorce, child custody and children's rights cases. The importance of having the same judge for all hearings of a particular case was also pointed out.

It was also mentioned that various studies conducted by law schools and states with existing family courts prove that families and children, whose cases were heard in specialized courts, fared better than their counterparts in places without such courts. This may mean significant changes are on the way for Washington's family law system.

Yet, even if a new family court is created in Washington, complexities can still arise.. Whether it be a divorce, a paternity claim, a child custody battle or a child support case, it is imperative to be prepared for the worst and to put forth the strongest legal arguments possible. A Washington family law attorney can be vital in helping an individual to handle these issues, and he or she can be a strong ally in the fight for what the client seeks.

Source: Crosscut.com, "Should Washington create special family courts," Judy Lightfoot, Dec. 13, 2013

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