Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patricia E. Erickson
Family court is a specialized court created by a state legislature. Family courts exist in a number of states to respond to serious hardships faced by children and families. The family court's purpose is more reformative than punitive. Family courts were formed to allow matters pertinent to the welfare and interest of a family to be heard in one place. Such an approach recognizes that many families will come back to court frequently—with long-term issues, as well as new problems. In addition, family courts exist to aid those who can find no other method of obtaining needed services. Family courts then become service coordinators, matching the needs of the individual to available community services. The jurisdiction of the family court differs somewhat from state to state. Typically, a family court will have jurisdiction over matters such as child abuse and child neglect, termination of parental rights by reason of permanent ...