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Saturday, April 26, 2014

General Assembly Unanimously Passes Family-Court Reforms

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Compromise legislation unanimously passed tonight by the Senate and House would set new standards for the appointment of lawyers named by the courts as guardians to oversee the interests of minor children in divorce proceedings.

The legislation requires the courts to provide families with a choice of 15 lawyers as guardians. It instructs judges to consider issues such as financial circumstances, language barriers, transportation issues and the proximity of a guardian’s office to the residence of each parent.

The family court system has been the subject of intense, often emotional complaints by parents who say some court-appointed guardians ad litem and counsels for minor children have been heavy-handed in dealing with parents, while running up exorbitant legal bills.

“The bill seeks to address the broken divorce court system,” said Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, who complained that families can go bankrupt with legal fees for guardians. “Many times the parents are not able to see what they are being billed for. They have to pay on faith without question.”

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