Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

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Archive for April 11th, 2013

AFCC — A Users’ Manual (Intro).. and (for now), some of “Arizona”

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Speaking of Engaging in Lookups:

Just a reminder — I’m not an attorney, and if you need one, go get one. However, at this point in time I don’t personally advise going to get any family law attorney before ascertaining membership or non-membership in this organization, and finding out whether the local Presiding Judge is also a member. Also, are you in a family court (are there actually some left?) or one that has been declared “Conciliation” and comes under a different section of the state code, by jurisdiction. Like they did in California….

That membership information would also be good to get on opposing attorneys, judges, GALs, and others not just currently in any case (heck, people can drop in and out of a case on a dime these days) — but also in the courthouses. In other words, most courts operate as fiefdoms, so who’s (singular, but more likely plural, a group of people) lord of the current one?

Above and beyond that, given how frequent radical jurisdiction switches (between states, I’m talking) can be, I believe it’s wise to get a systemic view of these family courts. As the AFCC is personally taking credit for their primary substance, one great way to do so is to take a good look at two things.

~ ~ How AFCC characterizes itself in its own publications, the public face.

~ ~ The “back office” viewpoint– which is the incorporation records (including withdrawals, suspensions, name changes, state changes, etc., the tax returns, and when-and-where public officials are (as from the beginning) running private associations out of the local courthouse.

~ ~ [added 12/2013. I forgot to mention, who’s paying the piper, apart from the obvious: Us, the public, through salaries and other means. See corporation newsletters and the mother ship’s site, for some clues; not all of them. ]

When ensconced in a position of power and control, which is where the organization’s leadership gravitates strategically to, and FYI it’s not just the courthouse (it’s also the law school and other places close to HHS funding) — and, when there, what they do. I mean, this is not rocket science, it just takes a little sustained attention to pick up on the basic patterns — including language patterns.

Power is multiplied when it’s unified, and when it’s system-wide. So, what’s the system?

Please notice below at which “URL” the May, 2013 “50th Anniversary Conference” has been advertised: It’s at a website that ends “*.gov,” at the “national responsible fatherhood clearinghouse.” It is funded through the repeated extensions of what was originally “TANF” (1996) welfare, but is variously the Deficit Reduction Act (2005), or the Claims Resolution Act (2010), and this is through the OFA (Office of Family Assistance).

Active link. Notice the domain name ends *.gov:
http://www.fatherhood.gov/about-us/events/afcc-50th-anniversary-conference

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ 50th Anniversary Conference, “Riding the Wave of the Future: Global Voices, Expanding Choices” will be held in Los Angeles, CA. Since 1963, AFCC members have spearheaded major reforms in the family law community, including no-fault divorce, joint custody, mediation, collaborative law, unified family courts, parenting coordination, differentiated case management, parent education and myriad hybrid dispute resolution processes. Even with these advances, professionals face growing changes and challenges. What does the future hold? How will the AFCC community influence the constantly
evolving family law system? Join us in Los Angeles, the birthplace of AFCC, as we begin to chart the course for the next 50 years.

Moreover, among its own, AFCC also celebrated and narrated its accomplishments 50th anniversary (1963-2013) and was planning the next 50 years. This was designed for professional consumption, not really the public. It was published in California Conciliation Quarterly and on-line access to the same, starting January 2013. In other words, building momentum for the cause. “Modestly” (and inaccurately) described as:

REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP: FIFTY YEARS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY AND CONCILIATION COURTS

.
(This title is also a link to the publication, see its first page by Peter Salem).

Here, they take credit for developing fields of practice. In that part, it’s honest. I’ve been talking about this as well (i.e., parenting coordination) and highlighting it’s time to stop letting this group create professional niches for themselves at our (the public’s) expense and on the taxpayer dollar. Also, the organization networks with other nonprofit organizations (big ones — ABA, APA — and other well-connected nationwide ones (National Center on State Courts, etc.) which underneath themselves also have other nonprofits of public officials. While obviously there needs to be planning and coordination when MAJOR technological innovations (such as the development of the internet!) are in place, it still remains a nationwide nonprofit suggested in 1978 by a US Supreme Court Judge. As of 1983 AFCC newsletter, marketing all kinds of trainings, the statement was made that AFCC (whoever that was in that year) had decided to have this NCSC be their “secretariat.” Typewritten blurb mentions:

AFCC Publications: All publications are payable in US Currency payable to AFCC c/o National Center for the State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA 23185– unless another address & payee is shown

(???)

Truly that is an informative publication; for example how individuals from Los Angeles and Connecticut helped get a NJ Governor to sign legislation to form a unified family court for juvenile and other matters. The conference schedule (for 1984) is also very informative — but only if one notices names, plades, and subject matter. For example, the heading of the newspaper has a different version of the group’s name than the logo on the banner. (Look carefully, you’ll see it’s a single-word difference). For example that at this point in time, what they’re primarily pushing is mediation as a profession (one thing at a time!); however the “unified family court” theme is lurking in the background, c/o Toronto’s “Unified Family Court.”

In case you’re thinking this is starting to resemble an Amway MLM marketing scheme, only with civil servants, I’d have to say, you’re probably right. (cf. the DeVos family). From a “Boycott Amway (for other reasons)” site:

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