NEW YORK, Feb. 17 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Many o…

NEW YORK, Feb. 17 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Many of those who have experienced the matrimonial court are hoping that the Matrimonial Reform Commission will eliminate one of the world’s great lies: “Justice will prevail.” According to Monica Getz, founder and president of the New York Coalition for Family
Justice, who will testify before the commission hearings today, “There is a
major disconnect between what the judicial system delivers and what
matrimonial litigants should reasonably expect when they are looking for

She contends that individual horror stories are discounted as apparition
and the victims as disgruntled; however, they form a large state and national
crisis. “We need to address the system malfunctions that are creating a
disastrous situation, particularly for children, who unfortunately are almost
always the biggest victims of the process. With criminal investigations and a
trial underway of several matrimonial judges, surely we must be reaching the
tipping point where it is impossible to continue to accept the lack of
accountability of the current system,” Ms. Getz said.

“One of the reasons that reform has been slow to come is that the issues
are complicated and threaten the status quo,” Ms. Getz argues. “We see
countless people who are treated contemptuously by the court and become
voiceless victims of a system where the rules are often applied unequally.”

Many of the cases that go to litigation are those where there is a
custodial dispute. “Cases in which one parent is seeking to protect a child
against an abusive spouse need an immediate and effective preliminary
assessment. Such a step could prevent many of the cases we read about in the
media, where it is too late to save the child. I have seen too many cases
where the court sides with what I call the sociopath in an Armani suit,” Ms.
Getz said. “He or she is someone who knows how the game is played to
influence the court, where judges and court-appointed forensics are unfamiliar
with the pathology of abusers.”

Ms. Getz cites several contributing factors to the helplessness felt by
those who have been victimized by the current system:

* Law guardians and forensics specialists, whose qualifications and
responsibilities are not regulated;
* The imbalance of power within the courtroom in favor of the moneyed
spouse or the one with an inappropriately aggressive or unethical lawyer;
* Frequent private conferences between judges and lawyers, excluding
litigants in key conversations regarding their case;
* The immense financial burden of lawyers’ fees, court transcripts, and
court appointees’ fees, where the winner is often the one with the deepest

“It is time for the Courts to step into the 21st century by adding video
cameras and audio tapes in the courtroom along with the court reporter. This
would put all conversations and activities in the court room within the public
domain, thus leveling the playing field and balancing the power. It would
also help the Appellate Division make its own judgments on credibility issues
instead of deferring to trial judges because they are the only ones who have
witnessed the litigants.

“We have an enormous task in front of us,” Ms. Getz said. “It is time to
dedicate ourselves to a comprehensive approach that will restore confidence in
the matrimonial judicial system.”

About the Coalition
Information regarding the Coalition can be found at

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