Businesses Have Real Stake in Divorce Court Reform

November 5, 2012

Because the exhausting and emotional impact of divorce often extends into the work environment, an article by Vicki Larson in the Huffington Post suggests businesses should take part in improving how courts handle divorce and custody issues. It relies on IAALS Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis' article, "It's Just Good Business: The Case for Supporting Reform in Divorce Court," in which she states that if the family court system "can be improved—such that they cost less money, take less time, and are less adversarial and inflamed—not only will employees benefit, but so will their employers." Studies from Kourlis' article suggest divorcing employees "make more mistakes; work more slowly; and if they are feeling angry, project that anger onto colleagues and customers." The article adds that "[m]arital problems can also lead to more absences, tardiness, on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity," which is costing businesses millions of dollars every year.

Furthermore, adversarial family courts, ill-suited for resolving family disputes, are making the situation worse for families and businesses. To remedy this, IAALS is working to develop new models for handling family disputes with their Honoring Families Initiative, which seeks to advance a dignified and fair process that is more accessible and responsive to children, parents, and families. But until there is a better solution is in place, employers and society as a whole should be "actively taking part in improving the way society dissolves marriages and handles child custody issues."