Sunday, July 11, 2010

Courts Cannot Do Everything

On Friday, I was in Newport News Circuit Court before Judge Vincent Conway, a very experienced judge. He stated the obvious, but often overlooked point, that courts were never designed to do "everything". Parties in turmoil often look to the courts as their salvation, as a way to solve problems that have no solution. Problems such as not having enough money for two parties to live in separate households and not enough common courtesy to live in one (the issue before Judge Conway). Courts and judges cannot perform miracles. They are limited by the restraints and forces that the parties who come into court have-too little money; too many children; no health insurance, etc. The only difference is that when the parties come into court they usually are adding a layer of ill will on top of the existing problems and making them even worse. Of course, they rarely recognize this at the time. Instead they come to court for "justice", when they really want either vengeance or a miracle. When they achieve neither, it is the fault of the lawyer or the judge or some other force outside themselves.
Money and time would be better spent with financial advisors and counselors dealing with the real problems and changing what can be changed and accepting what cannot. Courts have a role as the last step when all others have been tried and have failed. They are not the first avenue. They are not the best avenue. They cannot do everything.

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