Excerpt from: The Future of Family Court

© 2012 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

"TO EVERY EXTENT POSSIBLE, we need to reduce the stress on parents and children in our courts and our society. We need to admit that domestic violence is real, child abuse is real and that child alienation is real, rather than simply fighting about these issues. We need to work together at addressing these issues. We need to admit that our family courts often have a Culture of Blame, which on a prolonged basis can be just as abusive to parents with mental health problems as these parents are to their children. The court is in a good position to prevent child stress from the start or to reduce it by mandating efforts for positive change by their parents – from ordering parenting programs and classes, to setting limits on emotional attacks during the hearing process. However, if the court does not set standards and impose limits, high conflict parents will continue to escalate their inappropriate behavior and to impose their inappropriate needs on the children – which leads to alienation and abuse, and possible personality disorders for the next generation.

The judge sets the tone in the case from the very first court hearing – often an emergency hearing in potentially high-conflict cases. Judges who apply the principles described in this book should feel a much better sense of control over their courtrooms and less stress, as their clients are doing more of the work: practicing conflict resolution skills that will help them raise their children out of court, or showing each other’s patterns of behavior to more accurately see what needs at tention and protective orders.

Any judicial officer can immediately apply many of these concepts to his or her courtroom. I believe that this is important work. You can make a difference on the future of these parents – and especially on the future of their children."

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.