I just saw the movie, “Divorce Corp.” It is a documentary with limited release. Although, well done, and with a message that resonates for almost anyone who has been through a divorce, you can’t believe everything you see or hear. I say that because the movie would have you believe that most judges and lawyers “have their hands in each other’s pockets.” Although, I know there are, and always will be unscrupulous lawyers and judges, just as there are unscrupulous people in any profession, the clear majority do not fall into that category. In fact, the majority of the Judges, before whom I practice, are very careful to fully disclose any possible conflict that may tend to show bias. Also, with few exception, the Judges try very hard to make the right decision, based upon the law and the facts presented. Are mistakes ever made? Of course, but not out of callousness and vindictiveness, as the movie would have you believe.
“Divorce Corp.” also tells some sad stories of parents who have been removed from their children’s lives, and of parents who have suffered from additional injustice. I have no doubt that most of the stories portrayed are truly as represented, and that there have been some true miscarriages of justice. However, we are only shown one side, which in my mind lowers the credibility aspect of the movie. There are always two sides to the story. And, although that might not change the way most of the stories have been represented, I know for a fact that hearing the other side of one of the stories would have given the audience an entirely different perspective and ultimate conclusion. How can I say that? Well, I happen to have personal knowledge of the case involving one of the families depicted in the movie. The movie would have you believe that the parent has been unjustly kept from his/her child(ren). I am not at liberty to discuss the case, or to identify the person in the movie that I personally know. However, I can tell you that there is a very good reason that the parent is not allowed to be involved in the life of their child(ren). The movie does a good job at making the viewer feel sorry for the parent. The message is that every parent has a right to parent their child, no matter what. But I ask you, do you believe that to be true if one of the parents is mentally disturbed and has harmed the child(ren)?
That being said, I agree with what I perceive to be the underlying purpose of the film, which is to show that the family law system in the United States is not working. The system is broken and it needs to be changed. “Divorce Corp.” was made in a way to make people angry and to motivate them to take action toward change. For that reason, I encourage you to see the movie. If people see the movie and get angry enough, maybe we can make some real changes to our family law system.
Pamela Edwards-Swift, Certified Family Law Specialist, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014; Southern California Super Lawyer