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Keywords:

  • unified family court;
  • confidentiality;
  • due process;
  • judicial disqualification

To the extent that courts realize the pure one judge–one family notion of the unified family court—in which one judge handles all domestic relations, probate, juvenile dependency, juvenile delinquency, and domestic violence cases involving members of the same family—they encounter three potential legal barriers: confidentiality of court records in some of the cases, due process issues arising from the consideration of material from a related case file in which the parties to the current case may or may not be parties, and judicial disqualification arising from the judge's handling of a previous case involving the family. This article summarizes information obtained from a survey conducted for the Children and Family Law Committee of the National Conference of State Trial Judges, of courts in sixteen states, to learn how they have resolved these legal issues.