These stats are from a Detroit Free Press story yesterday about how Michigan's Friend of the Court system will be down more than $50 million in fed money this next fiscal year. It talked about the effects of that and also shared these stats about marriage, families and kids in Michigan. It's something that needs to be talked about at all levels:
- Between 1970 and 2000, Michigan's population increased by 12 percent, but divorces rose 30 percent and births to unmarried people jumped 146 percent.
- The numbers have put a strain on Friend of the Court offices and
family courts. Nearly 70 percent of all new state court cases are filed in the family court division.
- Many family cases involve protracted legal proceedings because parents can't agree on basic things such as visitation.
- A rough estimate is that 20% of the cases consume 80% of the family courts' time and an expanded mediation system to resolve conflicts could be part of the solution.