Budget Cuts and Court Closures = Mediation

California is facing a financial crisis, which is resulting in court closures around the state and massive layoffs of court employees.  Although Family Law courts are likely the busiest courtrooms, court closures are already occurring. The State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer said:  “it’s going to get worse” next year.

What this means for parties litigating their divorce, child custody and support matters is that wait times for hearings are going to grow longer and longer.  The Supervising Judge of the Family Law Department of the Los Angeles, Superior Court has stated that domestic violence, child custody and visitation matters will be given priority over property disputes, but the delay to even have these important issues handled by the Court will continue to grow.  This crisis means that parties must find ways to resolve their matters without the help of the Court, if they desire resolution.  Parties must start exploring mediation. Not only has this always been a more cost effective means of dispute resolution, but now it might be the only realistic way to move forward with one’s life.