In a 2007 case (Elkins
v. Superior Court 41 Cal.4th 1337) the California Supreme Court
reaffirmed the right of parties in Family Law proceedings to full evidentiary
trials and due process of law. In his opinion, Chief Justice Ronald George
called for the appointment of a task force to examine how to best accomplish
these goals in California’s Family Courts.
In response, the Judicial Council appointed a 38-member task
force ("Elkins Task Force”) directed to review Family Law proceedings and make
recommendations that would be consistent with the mandate of the California
Supreme Court. ACFLS submitted a series of concrete recommendations for
procedural reforms to the Elkins Task Force (which can be read at this link).
In October 2009, the Elkins Task Force issued a 78-page
draft report with request for comments. ACFLS responded with highly detailed
and concrete responses representing the consensus of the entire ACFLS committee
(which can be read at this link).
Elkins Task Force report and recommendations were released and adopted en masse
by the California Legislature in the fall of 2010, to be effective in 2011 and
2012. The series of statutes is commonly referred to as the Elkins legislation.
The result has been a profound sea change in the practice of
Family Law. ACFLS will continue to monitor the Elkins legislation and its
application to see if it fulfills the Supreme Court’s mandate for Family Law.