When Family Courts Shun Adversarialism

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 Last revised: 4 Aug 2014

See all articles by Glenna Goldis

Glenna Goldis

Merrimack Valley-North Shore Legal Services

Date Written: August 11, 2013


This article uses case studies to challenge the stigma attached to “adversarialism” in child custody disputes. It shows that the real-world alternative to adversarialism is just freestyle judging, with little of the structure that normally helps courts sift fact from fiction and real danger from fear-mongering. Freestyle judges indulge bogus claims for months or even years, wreaking havoc on families. Poor parents and parents facing abusive opposing parties are especially vulnerable. To protect their children, courts must follow rigid adversarial procedures — even if that means more complexity for everyone else.

Keywords: family, child, parents, procedure, alternative dispute resolution, adversarialism, guardianship, divorce, custody

Suggested Citation

Goldis, Glenna, When Family Courts Shun Adversarialism (August 11, 2013). When Family Courts Shun Adversarialism, 18 U.C. Davis J. Juv. L. & Pol'y 195 (Summer 2014). , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2308564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2308564

Glenna Goldis (Contact Author)

Merrimack Valley-North Shore Legal Services ( email )

35 John St., Ste. 302
Lowell, MA 01852
United States
9784581465 (Phone)

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