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Group protests for family court reform across North Carolina

This group says the family court system in North Carolina is failing families
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A small group of parents gathered outside the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on Friday afternoon to make sure their voices were heard about the need for family court reform.

But they say it’s not just an issue in Mecklenburg County but across the state of North Carolina.

They say each case is different but the main issues are that the courts need to be more transparent and court proceedings can drag on for years, leaving kids and parents in limbo.

You have parents who are suffering court-induced trauma, suffering from mental health issues, falling into a depression,” said Jessika Morgan, with Survivor’s Outreach Ministry, who organized the protest.

This group says the family court system in North Carolina is failing families.

“Family court should be about family. What’s in the best interest of the family. Not separating families,” said Brian Johnson, who was in attendance.

Each family here has its own story but they say it comes down to transparency and efficiency in the courts.

They say there needs to be an overhaul of how family cases are judged and decided on, who makes the decisions, how many agencies have to be involved, and a clearer and more efficient way of getting answers.

They say the problem is when the current system doesn’t work correctly, the kids are the ones who are hurt.

“He’s not OK. I have him in therapy. I’m dealing with him having physical sicknesses. He has headaches. He’s stressed out. He’s going to a place where is uncomfortable,” said one woman in attendance who didn’t want to use her name.

On top of all of this, they say the pandemic slowed courts down across the state, giving parents another battle to face.

“Thousands of families are waiting in limbo because of the courts being shut down. They haven’t seen their children or visited their children,” said Morgan.

They hope to bring awareness to the issue and start a conversation on family court reform, especially as head into November which is Family Court Awareness month.

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