S.R. NO.




S.D. 1





requesting the senate committee on human services to convene interim hearings on the misuse of legal interventions available to the family court.


WHEREAS, the Family Court's mission is to provide a fair, speedy, economical, and accessible forum for the resolution of matters involving families and children; and

WHEREAS, established by statute in 1965, the Family Court hears legal matters involving children, domestic relations cases, and domestic violence cases; and

WHEREAS, cases before the Family Court involve some of the most difficult and emotional issues facing families, including custody decisions, spousal support, abuse and neglect, and restraining orders; and

WHEREAS, as such cases increase, the ability of the Family Court to provide a speedy resolution of these issues is progressively more difficult; and

WHEREAS, there have been instances in which lengthy cases have resulted in backlogs in the caseload as well as extensive amounts of money expended by the individuals and families involved, causing financial and emotional hardship for all involved; and

WHEREAS, as a result, Family Court has extended the use of short-term interventions, such as temporary restraining orders, far beyond the intended limits of these temporary resolutions; and

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-Second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, that the Senate Committee on Human Services is requested to convene interim hearings on the misuse of legal interventions available to the Family Court, including an assessment of the caseload, the long-term use of such interventions as temporary restraining orders, the selection, use, and accountability of Custody Guardians ad Litem and other court-appointed personnel, and other issues that may have an impact on the timely and fair resolution of cases that meet an acceptable national standard of care for the best interests of the children and families before the Family Court; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate Committee on Human Services also consider any relevant laws and policies that other states have implemented to resolve similar problems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature hereby requests the Senate Committee on Human Services to report its findings and any recommendation for legislative action to resolve these issues, no later than twenty days prior to the Regular Session of 2005; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Senior Judge of the Family Court, Administrative Director of Courts, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


Report Title:

Legal Interventions; Family Court