Is there a crisis in the courthouse?  Have backlogs, delays, deferrals and/or the downright refusal to actually decide things created a lack of confidence?

Has the system turned in to one of costly busy work, trials and/or decisions don’t come?  If you do get a trial date – as elusive and mystical as Big Foot – will you get another one in the same season, much less week or month?  If you actually complete a trial, will anyone remember what it was about when the decision comes, 6 months, a year or longer, after the trial was completed.  More importantly, is there anything left to fight about by then? Troublesome, if not scary things are going on out there.

  • We have a case that has been going on for more than 4 years and has been touched by no less than 6 or 7 judges.  Numerous “fake” trial dates had been scheduled but none in months.  In fact, we recently got an Early Settlement Panel notice 4 years into the case and have been ordered to get the custody evaluations updated which will delay the case by a year.  In fact, it has gone on so long that 2 of the children have already aged out of the custody dispute.
  • Because a case is going to eventually be scheduled for a settlement conference with the trial judge, the motion judge decided to neither really substantively decide a motion or refer the matter to DCPP as she said was appropriate.
  • A temporary suppport motion filed in June and argued in August still not decided by December, such that a second motion had to be filed in which the first request for relief was to decide the first motion (all the while, the wife was getting no support.
  • While a motion was pending, before anyone read it to determine if it was ripe for mediation (and most of it was not because it was enforcement), it was referred to mediation that was doomed to failure.
  • On a motion to determine the validity and enforceability of a marital settlement agreement that the parties had lived under for several years, a referal to mediation because the agreement had a mediation clause (begging the ultimate question – don’t you have to find the agreement enforceable before your can enforce the mediation clause?
  • Rampant referrals to parent coordinators for things that cannot go to them (enforcement) or cases that cannot be there (because of domestic violence restraining orders).
  • The refusal to decide enforcement motions, instead appointing experts, or GALs, or parenting coordinators, to investigate and make recommendations – delaying adjudication, and in some cases, parenting time, for months and months.
  • Rampant delay in both the hearing and/or the deciding of motions.
  • Being forced to come to court for multiple ESPs and/or intensive settlement conferences, or blue ribbon panels.  In fact, I was recently a blue ribbon panelist for a case that had been to several ESPs, Blue Ribbon panels and at least 2 mediations.  I asked why/how, my opinion (possibly close to the 10th they had received) could be any more helpful than the prior nine. Was this justice or a war of attrition?
  • The refusal to actually enforce Orders or impose sanctions, especially with custody and parenting time violations, even where the facts are largely not in dispute.
  • An attitude that both litigants should be punished, or unhappy with a decision, because someone felt they had to bring the issue to the court.  A pox on both your houses, so to speak.

Vindicate The Violated - 2015

These are just a few examples.  I could go on and on as can my fellow familly law attorneys. The  problems have become so pervasive that they created a cottage industry for retired family court judges.  While 7-8 years ago, there seemed to be only a handful of them out there, most having gone off into the sunset of retirement, now they are plentiful and extremely busy – so much so – that it is not always the quick fix that it had become. Any way you slice it, these things cause litigants to lose faith in the system.  That is an untenable result.

Eric SolotoffEric Solotoff is the editor of the New Jersey Family Legal Blog and the Co-Chair of the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Lawyer and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Eric is resident in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland and Morristown, New Jersey offices though he practices throughout New Jersey. You can reach Eric at (973)994-7501, or esolotoff@foxrothschild.com


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



  1. Case #2008-029595 FC 17 11th Jud. Cir. in County of Miami Dade: Family Court Services, 175 NW 1st Ave #1503, Miami, FL 33128 STOP Court’s DENIAL of REASONABLE Parent/Child CONTACT · http://www.causes.com

    The Kafkaesque nightmare of family court | Communities Digital News

    Children’s Rights Florida – YouTube

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Pingback: A Devoted and Loving Father ~ Stand up for Zoraya – GoFundMe | Stand Up For Zoraya

  3. Pingback: Divorced men are more than nine times as likely as divorced women to kill themselves | Family Law Reform

  4. Pingback: Fairness to good men in divorce | Family Law Reform

  5. Pingback: Judicial Bias and Absolute Discretion in Family Courts | American Fathers

  6. Pingback: It is largely fatherhood which makes childhood possible | American Fathers

  7. Pingback: It’s Parenting Not Babysitting | American Fathers

  8. Pingback: Rewrite of the Florida Family Law Rules almost complete. | Civil Rights in Family Law Florida

  9. Pingback: Progress in the World | Politics Progressive Podcasts – Americans for Equal Rights for Fathers

  10. Pingback: 70 Million American Fathers Must Organize for Equal Rights | American Fathers

  11. Pingback: Why men need places to gather – Americans for Equal Rights for Fathers

  12. Pingback: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” | American Fathers

  13. Pingback: “We” asked Primary Candidates about the #1 social problem of our time. – Americans for Equal Rights for Fathers

  14. Pingback: Florida Senate Passes SB 250 Shared Parenting Bill! – Stand Up For Zoraya

  15. Pingback: Principal is not your Pal | American Fathers

  16. Pingback: No parents should have to go through this – Family Law Reform

  17. Pingback: Have you been defrauded by family court judges, lawyers and experts working in suspected collusion to create deliberate conflict for cash? | Civil Rights in Family Law Florida

  18. Pingback: Fathers 4 Justice ~ Shared Parenting | American Fathers

  19. Pingback: The invisible victims of domestic violence | Civil Rights in Family Law Florida

  20. Pingback: Decide. Commit. Protest!  –  June 17th ~ The Florida Fathers’ Rights Movement | Children's Rights

  21. Pingback: Stand Up For Zoraya

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s