by Renee Beeker and Paul Holdorf
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The problems plaguing our nation’s family court system inspired this project, which began in response to litigants’ complaints about the quality and effectiveness of family court proceedings. In order to gain a better understanding of the functioning of family courts in matters involving child custody, visitation, support, property division, family violence, and child protection issues, forty-three volunteers observed 649 cases involving fifty-seven judges in twenty counties. Data evaluation revealed that nearly one-third of cases demonstrated an evident lack of preparation on the part of the judges, attorneys, and other legal professionals. Failures to uphold due process, to deliver just and reasonable judicial decisions, and to show respect and courtesy to litigants were also evident. See the YouTube video about this article.