Alec Baldwin Will Be The Keynote Speaker At Colorado's Annual Family Law Institute Event
On the subject of divorce proceedings, Colorado's Family Law Institute has gained its first keynote speaker: Alec Baldwin. On the subject in fact, the actor couldn't be clearer. Baldwin's only book, "A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce," is a memoir about the costly process that he argues needs to change from the inside out.
Each year the Colorado Bar Association hosts an intimate gathering of lawyers who specialize in family and divorce law for a three-day seminar focused on improving the practice. This year family attorney Brenda L. Storey, a partner at McGuane and Hogan, LLP, nabbed Baldwin as the keynote speaker for the theme, "Say You Want A Revolution" (inspired by the Beatles song) and cites his book, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce as the main reason why she selected him.
A selection that Storey admits, has raised some questions. In 2007 the Emmy-winner attracted worldwide media criticism when a message he left on his daughter's voicemail was leaked to TMZ.com and cost him a suspension in his parental visitation rights, according to the Washington Post. Baldwin's joint custody with Ex Kim Basinger was later reinstated however, and he made a public apology to his-then 11-year-old daughter on The View.
"I was getting a lot of, 'Why would you get Alec Baldwin to speak?' but a lot of lawyers even, didn't understand that he wrote a book about the system and suggestions for fixing it. When they heard about the book, they understood," Storey told The Huffington Post.
"I'm not saying every lawyer that practices family law, needs to listen to me or Alec Baldwin, but he does present some real insights from the other side. What our theme really means is a revolution of our system itself. That's where Mr. Baldwin came in. He wrote a book about the ugly side of the system, he provides a voice about the system and gives suggestions for change."
In his book, Baldwin writes that his own divorce and custody battle took more than six years and $3 million in legal fees. He further describes the emotional costs of the family litigation process as a cruel battle that promotes more irreparable damage for all parties involved than closure.
"To be pulled into the American family law system in most states," Baldwin writes, "is like being tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down a gravel road late at night. No one can hear your cries and complaints, and it is not over until they say it is over."
Part of the problem though, Storey says, is that law school doesn't adequately prepare students for this specific area of law.
"We jump in and tear them apart, but they are the ones who have a kid to raise," Storey said.
"Additionally, there are judges who push divorce cases through at their own pre-determined one-size-fits-all pace, without giving the parties and their case and their family the time truly needed for their particular circumstances. It is easier to get a one-week personal injury trial on some dockets than it is to get three days for a final hearing in a divorce case that impacts every aspect of a family's future. Also a problem is that some judges do not enforce orders. They give second, third, fourth chances, that send a message that compliance is optional."
The kickoff will cost lawyers between $115 and $1,150 to attend, with all proceeds going to Colorado's Legal Aid Foundation--which provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals and was reportedly all Mr. Baldwin's idea.
Below, Alec Baldwin explains his views on parenting through divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome to Joy Behar, who was covering for Larry King on CNN.