Our tax dollars pay for the local justice system.
Everything from the buildings to salaries are paid for by us taxpayers. And yet, when it comes to local family law, where you have children, with few exceptions, only those with an extra $1,000 sitting around are able to get some judicial relief for themselves and or their children: deposit $1,000 into the guardian ad litem fund and your motion will get a court date.
Too many in our community know what it means to rely on a court or court order for not only their safety but that of their children.
Too many in our community know what it means to not have the resources to even begin to get that relief.
Too many are left out in the cold when it comes to situations in which one parent is acting like a domestic terrorist to the detriment of their target and their children.
There’s a common misconception frequently applied to family law, that it takes two to fight. The truth is that it takes two to compromise and problem solve. The truth is where one party is acting in bad faith, there is not a thing in the world the other party can do to make the conflict stop short of walking away from their children and leaving them in the care of a domestic terrorist.
St. Croix County used to hire three contract guardians ad litem at a rate of $25,000 each for a given calendar year, $75,000 total. These were attorneys that served as alternative options to private guardians ad litem and their $200-plus an hour rates.
For reasons to which I cannot personally speak, we no longer have contract GALs, leaving only private attorneys whose rates are cost-prohibitive to those who too often need their services the most.
It cannot be that the local justice system is a luxury of rich people. The exploitative potential of situations where abuse survivors lack the funds to seek relief is one that abusers capitalize off of routinely.
It’s sort of like as if we all had to pay for our own private police and criminals could act with functional impunity where they knew their target(s) couldn’t afford it.
Doesn’t sound right, does it? It’s not.