MRR Review: "Divorce Corp."

Photo Credit: Candor Entertainment

Rating: Unrated
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: January 10, 2014
Directed by: Joseph Sorge
Genre: Documentary / Drama / History

"Divorce Corp," directed by television producer Joseph Sorge, is a documentary that delves into the world of divorce and family courts with extensive research and interviews with the nation's top lawyers, judges, politicians and journalists. The film paints a frightening portrait of a corrupt divorce industry and family court system that is unregulated and casts children and families' needs to the wayside in favor of lining the pockets of the courts and their associates. This documentary calls into question everything people think they know about the $50 million-a-year family court system and explains why so many families feel victimized and demoralized after dealing with this system.

The documentary "Divorce Corp" was financed by the film's director, Joseph Sorge. His inspiration came from his own divorce experience and what he saw happening around him in the court system. The film shows a shocking display of lawlessness from family court judges who seem to have no one to answer to and insert themselves far too much into the lives of the families. The documentary portrays these judges as having connections to other judges and lawyers alike, making it far more financially appealing to the lawyers and judges to drag out family court cases unnecessarily, which costs only the families. The film also shows that even when a judge's conduct is questioned, the judge's colleagues and former associates end up being the people who ultimately review and decide on those cases. In addition, the film depicts judges dragging cases out for far longer than necessary so that attorneys and associates can fill their pockets with their client's money.

A lot of the documentary focuses on experts, judges and lawyers involved in the family court system, stating their opinions and experiences. The downfall of this is that many of the sources are used too often, and the situations explained lack different points of view. In addition, the film's director uses appearances from people known for their TV appearances, such as Dr. Drew Pinsky and Gloria Allred, and this lends to a more salacious, gossipy feel that the film needed to steer away from when presenting its facts and accusations. A wider array of experts and respected members of the family court system would have driven home some of the film's assertions more effectively. That aside, the documentary has a theme that is hard to ignore.

At the conclusion of the film, Sorge makes a call for complete reformation of the court systems, which, after viewing his documentary, seems completely necessary. The problem here is that the director doesn't offer any ideas or ways to achieve reformation, such as federal regulation or state regulation. He's painted a portrait of a thoroughly corrupt system full of connected officials who are more loyal to each other than to the families they are supposed to be guiding through a difficult period, and reforming that complicated system is a daunting task. The film demonstrates how angry many people are after their experience in the court system, and it suggests that if public opinion mobilizes against the kinds of destructive practices that are shown in the film, only then can real changes be implemented. After viewing the film, it is clear that more oversight is necessary to protect the rights of the men, women and children embroiled in battles that can only play out in the family court system. The problem, as demonstrated by the film, is that oversight needs to start with the lawyers and judges, and they have nothing to gain by implementing such measures and restrictions. On the contrary, the judges and lawyers will lose money and even positions if reform is successful.

Anyone who has been involved in a divorce proceeding knows about the strenuous and tedious process. One would hope that it would at least be fair and ethical for all those involved, but this documentary calls that fact into question and proves its point well. "Divorce Corp" presents facts and stories with a number of reputable sources. The picture this film paints is disheartening at best, but it needs to be seen to educate people more about the family court systems, especially by those who are currently involved in cases or plan to be some time in the future. This documentary does its job admirably of showing that reform is necessary in the family court judicial system, but it also demonstrates just as admirably how difficult, if not nearly impossible, such reform will be to accomplish. But, as with everything, education and knowledge is the first step to achieving anything.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5