A few years back I heard a commentary about criminal court and family court.  The saying went something like this: “criminal court is filled with bad people trying to look good, while family court is filled with good people looking bad.”

The parties in Bruni v. Bruni behaved incredibly badly.   The wife alienated the children from the husband (actually seeking to have them adopted by her new boy friend 4 months after separation). The husband failed to report income and to pay adequate child support.  The husband made a frivolous claim to set aside a separation agreement.

Justice Quinn’s decision was scathing of the parties.  The decision garnered national attention.

Aside from the delight of schadenfreude, can any insight to our family law system be gained from Quinn, J’s critique?

Our court system is is obviously a flawed process for addressing people’s emotional difficulties.  In Bruni, the parties and their children were in need of counselling but the court was unable to provide it.  Their anger towards each other came to nothing other than wasted resources and the ridicule of a jurist.

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