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Attorney says Family Court moves too slow, challenges incumbent judge

A long-time Las Vegas attorney is challenging a one-term incumbent judge for a seat on the Family Court bench, which the attorney says is moving too slow for families facing the judge.

Attorney Ben Childs said with four adopted children, he knows the Family Court system well. He is running against Family Court Department G incumbent Judge Rhonda Forsberg who was elected in 2019 after serving as pro-tem hearing master for domestic violence and family discovery court.

The two candidates agreed on several points during the 25-minute judicial debate moderated by Review-Journal Politics and Government Editor Steve Sebelius.

Both listed numerous resources that litigants in Family Court can use to represent themselves if unable to afford counsel. Forsberg said about 70 percent of litigants who stand before her are representing themselves without an attorney and she often directs them to the Family Law Self-Help Center or the Ask-A-Lawyer program.

“The most important thing I can do is give them information,” she said. “There’s a lot of help and there’s also pro bono help through the Legal Aid (Center) of Southern Nevada.”

Childs echoed Forsberg’s suggestions, saying he volunteers at the Self-Help Center now and also admires the work of the Children’s Advocacy Center Foundation.

Childs took a shot at the workload judges face compared to attorneys when he said he wished to shorten the lengthy process to decisions. Childs said he desires a system where only a year will pass between a motion being filed and a decision being reached.

“The amount of time that I work, being a judge would be like being retired,” he said.

Forsberg fought back, arguing Childs’ complaints over working weekends wouldn’t end should he win the election.

“My current caseload is over 800 cases, so to say that he would be on vacation and have it easy and not have to work on the weekends is not true,” she said.

Forsberg finished the debate by saying she’d like to continue ensuring fair cases by finding solutions to the unrepresented litigants she sees.

Childs closing statements acknowledged that Family Court can be an emotionally stressful situation and he called the lack of paternal custody a “major problem in our system right now.”

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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