This chapter explores a contradiction in the new paradigm of family dispute resolution. The new paradigm expands the vision and role of family courts at the same time that it reduces the primacy and relevance of legal norms in resolving disputes about children. The result is a more powerful family court system that is less constrained by legal limits than its more traditional predecessor. While such an expanded and expansive court system may benefit children and families in need of services, it also poses substantial risks, both to the family members it serves and to the larger legal system. Many researchers have expressed a concern that reliance on informal processes and non-legal staff increases the danger that parties will leave the court system without the legal remedies they need and are entitled to under existing law.
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