By: Rudman Winchell Attorney Anthony Trask (a member of the task force)
Nearly a year ago I wrote about being selected to serve on the 2013 Family Division Task Force. The mission of the Task Force was to study the Family Division of the Maine District Court and to make recommendations regarding how the judicial system as well as Maine law can be modified to better serve Maine families.1
For the better part of a year we met as a group approximately monthly. In addition, we were divided into subcommittees that were assigned specialized areas on which to focus our attention and report back to the full Task Force. We also conducted numerous public hearings throughout Maine, not only in the population centers such as Portland, Lewiston, and Bangor, but also in the more rural areas of the State as far east as Calais and as far north as Presque Isle.2
After studying volumes of written materials on our own time, hearing from the general public as well as lawyers and members of the judiciary at hearings and through written submissions, and brainstorming ideas and intensely debating potential recommendations in subcommittees and as a full group, we eventually reached consensus and compiled our findings and recommendations in a report that we submitted to the Maine Supreme Court earlier this summer.3
While some of the ideas we presented were very practical and addressed relatively small problem areas, other suggestions were quite profound and could have far-reaching implications if the Maine Supreme Court elects to follow-through with them in one way or another.
I was honored to have been selected to sit on the 2013 Family Division Task Force. I sincerely hope that I was able to contribute a fraction of what the experience taught me about Family Law in Maine.
1. The purpose and membership of the 2013 Task Force can be found on the web at http://www.courts.maine.gov/maine_courts/committees/fam_div.html.
2. The original announcement listing all of the scheduled public hearing locations can be viewed at http://www.ptla.org/sites/default/files/PRFamilyTaskForceHearings_0.pdf.
3. A full copy of the entire report of the 2013 Family Division Task force can be found at http://www.courts.maine.gov/reports_pubs/reports/pdf/FDTF_2014_report.pdf.