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July 16, 2010
Trying to turn divorce into a less destructive affair
Ask Brian, a Fort Lauderdale surgeon, about his pending divorce and his voice will rise as he describes how his wife decimated his life and how he has fought to keep his kids close by. The battle, after 11 years of marriage and three children, has consumed his energies, crept into his conversations and occupied his thoughts at work.
“The whole thing is so disgusting. I blame the legal system that’s enabled her to pursue an unreasonable path.”
Now, significant efforts are under way to make the divorce process and custody fights less destructive, a big issue because nonamicable breakups hurt both parties and affects their jobs.
Miami attorney Mitchell Karpf, who chairs the American Bar Association’s Section of Family Law, gathered 60 lawyers, judges and activists from across the country to a first-of-its-kind Families Matter Symposium. The group brainstormed and created a blueprint for change that includes everything from creating separate family law courts to introducing more alternative forums to resolve conflict and making mediation more accessible.