NCSC recommends state-of-the-art innovations for family-centered disputes



NCSC recommends state-of-the-art innovations for family-centered disputes

With a new courthouse opening in Indianapolis in 2022, NCSC is helping court officials unify paternity, domestic relations, probate and juvenile court proceedings to create a more efficient and effective way to settle family-centered disputes.

Unifying these proceedings, which often leads to better and faster outcomes for families, is one of 36 recommendations NCSC consultants made in a 75-page report they recently presented to Marion County (Indianapolis) circuit and superior court judges and administrators.

The release of the report comes at a time when NCSC is working on the Family Justice Initiative (FJI), a massive effort to examine ways to improve the administration of justice in family and domestic relations courts nationwide.

The report, while written for Marion County, could serve as a template for courts nationwide, said Alicia Davis, one of two NCSC consultants who presented the report in Indianapolis.

“NCSC has provided a vision for this new model, complete with concrete recommendations and research grounded in evidence-based practices from around the country,” according to a statement from Marion County’s Executive Committee judges.

NCSC also recommends the county:

  • Apply the “One-Family, One-Judge” concept in order to provide effective coordination of all services;
  • Create “One-Family, One-Judge” case management teams, in which the same judge hears all court cases involving a family every time the family comes to court;
  • Provide regular training for judges and other court employees; and
  • Offer options other than litigation to resolve cases. These options can involve mediation, arbitration or other methods, such as online dispute resolution.

“NCSC's recommendations touch upon each necessary aspect of the Family Division,” the judges said, “…with guiding principles that we can implement in light of our goal of ultimately becoming an innovative leader in family justice.”

Sandra Day O'Connor Award nominations due Mar. 11

Nominations are now open for the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education. We want to hear about organizations, courts or individuals who have promoted, inspired, improved, or led an innovation or accomplishment in the field of civics education relating to the justice system. Nominations are due March 11, 2020, and should be submitted by email to Lorri Montgomery, NCSC's Director of Communications. The Sandra Day O'Connor Award is named after the retired Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who has dedicated her time to promoting web-based learning tools for middle-school students.