I am pleased to introduce two new projects that we have been working on at the Domestic Relations Court to help families moving through our court system. Both projects are still in development and are expected to be completed within the next year.
The first project we plan to release later this year is our new, more user-friendly website. The new site will be more consistent with Delaware County’s other sites. It is designed to work well on a computer or handheld devices.
What excites me most about the new website is our virtual resource center. The Virtual Resource Center is designed to help people better understand the court system. It provides answers to some frequently asked questions and includes definitions of legal terms.
In addition, the new virtual resource center provides easy access to other online resources, including a free child support calculator. The feature that I think can be used the most is the link on the new site to download the correct forms to use for each type of case.
For example, if a couple with no minor children wished to end their marriage, they would select “Child Dissolution Package”. Once selected, all the forms required for a child-free resolution will be downloaded to their electronic device.
I would like to thank the Delaware County IT staff for their collaboration in creating our new website.
The second project we are working on is a personal resource center. This resource center will be available for people to come into the courthouse and give them access to computers and forms to fill out the necessary paperwork to file a case or file an application in a case. Once they have filled out all the required forms, they can go down one floor in the courthouse and submit the documents to the clerk’s office.
Courts can only respond to properly filed requests, such as motions or complaints. Through a resource center, any person can more easily access the basic building blocks of justice to at least start their case or reactivate a previous case.
So why are these projects important? Well, it’s important to understand that many of the people who go through the domestic relations court don’t have an attorney to represent them. The Domestic Relations District Court’s virtual resource center and in-person resource center were designed to break down barriers for self-representatives by providing better access to computers, legal information, and all necessary forms.
While the court cannot provide legal advice, these resources can help provide a framework or parameter within the court process.
Please understand, I think it is in everyone’s best interest to have an attorney represent them when they have a case in our court. Consulting an attorney is still necessary to obtain legal advice and can be very helpful to anyone seeking advice and advocacy on their case.
Why? Because every day the court hears cases involving matters that are of the utmost importance to people, such as child custody and care, child support, property division and spousal support. These issues touch on some of the most important decisions a person makes in life. It is best to have a lawyer who understands the issues and our legal system and can advise you throughout the process.
Many people, for financial or other reasons, choose to represent themselves rather than have an attorney represent them. If an individual decides not to hire an attorney, they must understand the legal process and have information to successfully navigate the legal process.
I want to do everything in my power to ensure everyone has access to justice. This is important so that they can make informed decisions about what is best for them and most importantly their children.
Randall D. Fuller is a judge in the Domestic Relations Division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Fuller is a lifelong resident of Delaware County.