Marketers of products sometimes use a gimmick that involves taking an
existing product, tweaking it a little, and advertising it with a new
or packaging. Often it's called "new and improved."
West Virginia citizens are receiving the same treatment this session
the West Virginia Legislature. Last November, voters gave the
permission to create a family court by passing an amendment to the
Instead of creating what voters want - a family court that addresses
needs of families - the proposed Senate bill simply takes the old
master system and gives it a new name. Families will continue to
uncertainty for years as their cases are bounced from family court, to
circuit court and back again. Decisions made by family court judges
the same Supreme Court review as those of circuit judges. Children
the same level of respect as litigants in civil lawsuits.
Some circuit judges whine that parties without attorneys won't be able
handle a Supreme Court appeal. Self-represented parties have to do
own Supreme Court appeals now - it just takes longer to get there.
the current system, families have to make their way through three
the court system. Many give up before they get to the Supreme Court.
direct appeal to the Supreme Court means cases are resolved faster and
fewer hearings. It's faster and cheaper in the long run.
West Virginia voters are going to catch on, just as consumers don't
"new and improved" packaging. Next time our Legislature asks us to
change our Constitution; perhaps we need to just say "No." Meanwhile,
your legislators to kill this bill and take the time to give West
families the family court system they deserve.
Ginger Thompson McDaniel
West Virginia Alliance for Two Parents
109 North Arthur Drive
Charleston WV 25312