By Carlisa Bydume, CFCC Student Fellow 2019-2020
In Maryland, 46% of the cases filed in Maryland’s Circuit Courts are family law cases. Many families depend on the judicial system to resolve their family issues. Family courts are necessary because sometimes children need someone to put their interests first. Although many people have been scarred by their experiences in the judicial system, family courts should create public trust and instill confidence. Families who depend on the judicial system should be able to trust that their issues will be resolved effectively. Those who come before family courts are dealing with sensitive matters. That is why Therapeutic Jurisprudence is a necessary practice in the judicial system, but more importantly, in family courts.
Therapeutic Jurisprudence when applied can build connections with families while caring for them. Family courts and their personnel must be all inclusive; everything a family needs should be available through the family court system. As someone who been in court for family matters, I understand the importance of making families feel at ease. As a ten-year old child, I did not know what to expect. All I knew was that my parents could not get along long enough to make sure my needs were addressed. However, after my parents and I were ordered to go to a counselling session with other families going through the same problems, I felt better. I no longer felt alone, and I was also given the opportunity to express to my parents how their actions made me feel. None of this would have been possible without family courts.
Family court healed my family dynamic; fourteen years later, my parents still utilize the tools and skills they learned during that rough time. This should be the experience every family receives when going to court for family matters. Family courts are supposed to heal–not further dismantle what is sacred to many people, namely the family itself.