RI Mediators Association

Michael Forte sworn-in as Chief Judge of RI Family Court

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 4:43 PM | Anonymous

Family Court Judge Michael B. Forte was sworn in as the sixth Chief of the RI Family Court on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. He has served on Family Court since 1987.

Forte told those gathered for the ceremony about his plans for the court, considered the state’s most emotionally volatile for the sensitive divorce, child custody and juvenile cases it hears.

"It would adapt according to the evolving definition of family opened up by new technologies", he said. “What is a family?…. It’s the people in your life who want you to be in theirs,”.

Family Court, going forward, would be a treatment-focused, rehabilitative court aimed at families as a whole, he said.

He would create a women services unit and an infant protection plan, he said.

His vision is simple, he said: To help people through life’s challenges and enable them to reach normalization.

Forte, as senior Family Court judge, has been serving as acting chief since Jan. 1, following the retirement of Haiganush R. Bedrosian.

At his hearing before the Judicial Nominating Commission, Forte said he was fortunate to have worked with the late Family Court Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr., and Bedrosian. The autonomy they provided enabled him, he said, to bring court hearings to the Training School and to put in place gang intervention and work-release programs for the teens.

Forte earned a law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center. Before being named to the bench in 1987 at age 34 by former Gov. Edward DiPrete, who was on hand Tuesday, Forte served as a Democratic state senator representing Little Compton, Tiverton and Warren.

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