New Submission Guidelines

New Submission Guidelines

Information for Potential Authors Interested in the Family Court Review

I. Invitation to Potential Authors
Family Court Review (FCR) invites articles concerned with all aspects of family law, family courts, and the resolution of family disputes. Articles are welcomed on topics such as divorce and separation, child custody, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, adoption, termination of parental rights, juvenile delinquency, status offenses, unified family courts, problem solving family courts, any other aspect of family court organization, professional ethics and standards of practice of lawyers, judges, mental health professionals, lawyers for parents and children and mediators involved in family dispute resolution, therapeutic justice, domestic violence among family members, gender issues in family law, court-affiliated family education programs, conciliation, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, expert evaluation, arbitration, juvenile dependency, guardianships, probate conservatorships, elder abuse, and collaborative law, as are articles about strengthening and preservation of family life. International perspectives on these topics are strongly encouraged. FCR is an interdisciplinary journal and invites contributions from the fields of law, court administration, mental health, medicine, the behavioral and social sciences, dispute resolution, education, public policy, and other disciplines concerned with the welfare of children and families.

II. Journal Description
FCR is the quarterly research and academic journal of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), edited by faculty and students of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University under the auspices of its Center for Children, Families and the Law and published by Blackwell Publishing. AFCC is an interdisciplinary association of approximately 3,000 judges, academics, researchers, counselors, evaluators, mediators, attorneys and others concerned with the constructive resolution of family conflict. AFCC members receive FCR issues four times a year as a benefit of their membership.

FCR’s editor-in-chief is Professor Andrew Schepard, who is the director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law. FCR’s associate editor, Professor Robert E. Emery, provides guidance on social science and interdisciplinary aspects of FCR’s articles. The 50-member Editorial Board of FCR is composed of professors, researchers, lawyers, judges, psychologists, mediators, and court professionals who are experienced in issues that impact families in the legal process. It provides ongoing advice to the editors and performs such essential tasks as completing peer reviews of submitted articles and developing issues on important themes.

FCR’s law student staff is chosen through a competitive application process. The staff performs editorial and administrative functions similar to those performed by law students at other law reviews. Staff members research and write notes in FCR’s area of interest, several of which are published in each issue.

Blackwell Publishing, FCR’s publisher, is the world's largest privately owned, independent, academic publishing company. The company publishes books and journals for the higher education, research and professional markets. Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic, medical, and professional societies and publishing 850 journals. Every FCR issue since it originated in the 1960s is available in PDF form at the Blackwell Web site.

FCR is accessible on the Westlaw and LexisNexis databases, leading social science indices, and is subscribed to by numerous libraries and individuals on both national and international levels. Presently, FCR is available at 2,441 learning institutions worldwide. FCR is also commonly cited to in judicial opinions and articles from the journal were downloaded from the publisher’s Web site 32,240 times in 2006.

III. Types of Articles Published By FCR

Authors have often asked what types of articles are suitable for publication in FCR. The following categories are to guide potential authors as to the kinds of articles that FCR publishes. The categories are not intended to limit authors but instead provide a general idea about the kinds of articles that FCR considers. Category descriptions include the type of article in the category, requirements specific to each category, and an example of the background of the members of the editorial staff or board who are likely to review that type of article for publication

III. Types of Articles Published By FCR

Authors have often asked what types of articles are suitable for publication in FCR. The following categories are to guide potential authors as to the kinds of articles that FCR publishes. The categories are not intended to limit authors but instead provide a general idea about the kinds of articles that FCR considers. Category descriptions include the type of article in the category, requirements specific to each category, and an example of the background of the members of the editorial staff or board who are likely to review that type of article for publication.

1. Perspectives: Informed and thoughtful opinions regarding previous issues or other relevant areas of interest. Perspectives articles cover important themes and ideas in FCR’s area of interest, even if controversial. They should be thought provoking. Some examples include commentary on the rights of children, divorce reform, the role of the family court judge, ethics in family law practice, family law legal education and foster care reform. Authors can have any professional background. These articles are maximum 10-15 pages double-spaced and do not require copious footnotes. The Editor and Associate Editor in Chief generally review these articles.

2. Legal Articles: This category includes the kinds of articles typically found in law reviews, covering topics like child representation, divorce, and custody. Authors will typically be lawyers or legal academics. The majority of the citations in this category of articles consist of statutes, case law, court rules and other law review articles. Any social science references are not fundamental and the article is judged by law review criteria. Legal topics covered should not be limited to a single jurisdiction, but can use a single jurisdiction to illustrate a problem that many other jurisdictions also encounter. Lawyers and the Editor review these articles.

3. Mixed Law and Social Science Articles: These include articles where legal analysis is heavily reliant on social science materials to defend, challenge, or propose modifications to existing law and related public policy. These articles are not heavily methodological and generally rely upon multiple research studies. FCR anticipates they be written by lawyers and/or social scientists alone or working together. Again, a national or international scope on whatever problem is being addressed is preferred. Lawyers and social scientists review these articles according to their expertise.

4. Empirical Research: This category of articles includes original empirical research or reviews of empirical research that furthers public policy and interdisciplinary dialogue in FCR’s areas of interest. Examples of articles in this category include reviews of research on domestic violence, child abuse, supervised visitation, mediation and empirically focused pieces on the impact of divorce on children. These articles are written mainly by researchers in social science, psychology, alternative dispute resolution, and other relevant fields. Articles in this category should describe the public policy implications of the research that is being discussed and should generally contain a review of relevant literature. This category of article is primarily reviewed by social science experts with assistance from lawyers to assess the practical implications of the research and the validity of any legal discussion.

5. Practice Innovations: This category of articles includes discussion of clinical and court-based programs that represent important innovations in family law or dispute resolution practice but do not necessarily have evaluation data to confirm their effectiveness. The practice innovation described in the article should have important innovative features that other practitioners, family courts and communities could replicate. Articles on Integrated Domestic Violence Courts, Family Treatment Courts, programs for self represented litigants and other innovations in court services would fit into this category. These articles should provide good descriptive information about program design and operation as well as available data on program evaluation. Articles should include a disclaimer describing any limitations of validating research, as well as plans for future research. Lawyers, court administrators, social science experts, or a combination of both review this category depending on the subject matter of the proposed innovation.

6. Book Reviews: These reviews are critical examinations of important topics and not simply summaries of recently published books. FCR selects books to review based on its criteria concerning the significance of the book to its field. Book reviews do not go through the peer editorial process and the Editor chooses the book reviewers. This category is subject to FCR’s existing policy on book reviews, which can be found at the following link:

IV. The Review Process

The FCR review process is designed to insure that authors who submit articles receive detailed feedback and comments on their pieces from distinguished interdisciplinary professionals. Members of the Editorial Board selected by the Editor review submitted articles anonymously. Authors receive a detailed summary of the comments received.

Articles may be accepted for publication, accepted subject to certain revisions, or denied publication in FCR. There is no guarantee that articles accepted subject to revision will be published. Once the requested revisions are completed and an article is resubmitted, it may undergo another review before it is ultimately accepted or denied for publication.

The review process begins as soon as possible after the article is received. FCR aims to complete the review process within four to six weeks after an article is submitted, but authors may encounter a longer wait for a decision on publication. FCR will try to inform authors of the progress of the review process and publication decisions in a timely manner, but due to the interdisciplinary nature of FCR, some articles may take longer than others to review.

Because of the time and effort devoted to the process of reviewing articles, the Editorial Board requests that authors who submit articles to FCR do not submit the same article to other journals at the same time. The editorial staff is happy to discuss this policy with potential authors who have concerns about it. It may be possible to expedite reviews of articles in some circumstances, though doing so places extra burdens on the editorial board and staff.

Please contact FCR’s Student Managing Editor with any questions at

V. Technical Requirements for Submitted Articles

  • Manuscripts submitted for publication should be forwarded via email to Andrew Schepard, Editor of FCR, at
  • A manuscript should not generally exceed 25 double-spaced typed pages, including notes, references, tables, and figures.
  • Authors are requested to follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition) or the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed.), published and distributed by the Harvard Law Review, when preparing manuscripts. Manuscripts must follow either the Bluebook or APA citation formats, not both, in a consistent manner.
  • Email submissions should include a word processing file in MS Word with an abstract (100 words) and a biographical statement.
  • Send only camera ready copy for figures and tables submitted for publication.
  • Please contact FCR’s Student Managing Editor with any questions at

VI. Family Law Writing Competition for Law Students

FCR conducts an annual family law writing competition for law students from American law schools and law schools abroad in cooperation with AFCC and the Center for Children, Families and the Law. Entries may address any area of family law or family dispute resolution, although international or interdisciplinary topics are especially encouraged. Articles should concentrate on a current legal issue and must have a strong foundation in legal research. The winners of previous year’s competitions have been published in FCR. The due date for submissions is in March of every year. Please refer law students to FCR’s Web site for more information concerning the writing competition:

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