The events of the 1900s are bittersweet memories now replaced with the reality of the 2000s. To mark the significance of this auspicious change, former chairpersons of the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section were invited to contribute to this theme issue. Their charge was to write an article about some significant family law matter of the 20th Century, or about a significant family law development they foresee in the next millennium. The result of this quest is the excellent representation of articles published in this first family law theme issue of the 2000s.
The articles are informative and thought provoking. They also serve to remind us of the continual positive evolution of family law in this state. I recall when local police departments were not adequately prepared to deal with calls of domestic violence; when, in order to obtain a divorce in our state, fault had to be proved; when we were uncertain whether courts would enforce antenuptial agreements; when there was virtually no alternative dispute resolution vehicle for family law disputes in the court system; when participants of pension plans were awarded these plans along with their clothing and other personal effects; when the nonemployee spouse in a divorce case was left without health insurance protection; when transfers of certain property interests among spouses in property settlements were taxable events; when advanced educational degrees were not factored into divorce settlements; when we did not have an equitable parent doctrine; and when there was not a court dedicated entirely to family law.
For the most part, change in the family law arena has been positive. It has been impacted by the efforts of members of family law sections of state and local bar associations, as well as by the direction of many practitioners who have dedicated their professional lives to the improvement of family law, and of course, those whom we serve, the parties involved in litigation. You, too, may participate in this process by choosing to attend family law section/committee meetings where fresh ideas are sought after and welcomed.