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Conference: MI Family Court Checkup for Children

January 10, 2008

Milford, MI – Michigan's family courts are touted as a streamlined way to deal with divorce cases, especially child custody cases. But the streamlining may not be in the best interest of children, according to initial research of family court cases, and another project that looked at cases involving domestic violence and child abuse.

Renee Beeker with the Michigan-based National Family Court Watch Project says people are shocked when they find out children are being ordered by family courts to spend time with abusers, sometimes those with criminal convictions, whether it be a parent, or other family member.

"People believe we have legislation that will protect victims who've been harmed, but in reality, that's not what pans out."

Beeker is presenting family court case information from Michigan and several other states this weekend at the Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody conference. Family court judges have not yet seen the research.

Beeker believes domestic violence and child abuse is being swept under the rug by family courts.

"We're seeing an awful lot of people not wanting to know about any abuse issues. Even if you have a case that was convicted, they tend to disregard or ignore it."

More information is available online at www.michnow.org/public_html/familylaw.htm. More information on the conference is available at www.batteredmotherscustodyconference.org .

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MI