State civil courts play an underrecognized role in our society. They hear roughly 20 million cases per year, handling disputes ranging from evictions and minor guardianships to contracts and personal injury.
Though state courts are independent branches of government, state statutes shape and govern civil court processes. In many cases, these processes and their outcomes directly affect child and family well-being. Legislators can improve civil court proceedings by directing and enabling courts to operate with a high degree of sensitivity to the experiences of the vulnerable individuals and families involved in them.
This is part of an NCSL series on family-friendly courts.