A Beacon of Justice: The Journey of Judge Bruce Cohen and the Impact of ‘Tommy’ in 2024

A Beacon of Justice: The Journey of Judge Bruce Cohen and the Impact of 'Tommy' in 2024 and the importance of empathy and understanding in family law.
A Beacon of Justice- The Journey of Judge Bruce Cohen and the Impact of 'Tommy'

A Beacon of Justice: The Journey of Judge Bruce Cohen and the Impact of 'Tommy'

A Beacon of Justice: The Journey of Judge Bruce Cohen and the Impact of ‘Tommy’ is a comprehensive look into the life and work of Judge Bruce Cohen. It highlights his significant contributions to family law, his leadership roles, and his community involvement.

The piece also explores the innovative Families in Transition (FIT) program, conceived by Judge Cohen, and the profound impact of Darren Mort’s film “Tommy” on the program. The film serves as a tool for change, shedding light on the often overlooked victims of family separation – the children.

A Beacon of Justice- The Journey of Judge Bruce Cohen and the Impact of 'Tommy'

Judge Bruce R. Cohen, a distinguished figure in the legal field, has made significant contributions to family law and community service. His journey, from his education to his current leadership roles, is a testament to his dedication and commitment to improving the lives of families and children.

Early Life and Education

Judge Bruce Cohen earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with Distinction in 1978 from the University of Arizona. He further pursued his passion for law at Arizona State University, where he received his Juris Doctorate in 1981.

Legal Career

After becoming a member of the Arizona Bar in 1981, Cohen spent 24 years in practice, primarily as a family law attorney. He co-founded and partnered at Cohen & Fromm P.C. from 1983 to 2002. His expertise in family law led him to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Family Law at Arizona State University College of Law in 2001.

Judicial Career

In 2005, Judge Bruce Cohen was appointed to the Maricopa County Superior Court Bench. His assignments varied from Family Court to the Criminal Department, Juvenile assignment, and Civil Department. In June of 2019, he became the Presiding Judge for the Family Department.

Leadership Roles

Judge Bruce Cohen has held several leadership roles throughout his career. He served as the Family Court Presiding Judge since June 2019 and was the Family Court Associate Presiding Judge in June 2007. He is also a member of the Judicial Executive Council, Maricopa County Superior Court, since 2009.

Awards and Recognition

Cohen’s dedication to improving the court system has earned him several awards. He received the “Improving Public Trust and Confidence in Arizona Court System” Award from the Arizona Supreme Court in 2011. He was also named the 2010 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Arizona Family Support Council.

Community Involvement

Beyond his legal career, Cohen has been involved in various community projects. These include the Children With Aids Project, legislation for accelerated adoption of special needs children, and mandatory parental education in divorce cases. He was an advisor for the Anytown Camp in 2001 and 2003.

Families in Transition (FIT) Program

One of Cohen’s significant contributions is the Families in Transition (FIT) program. This innovative online program, introduced in September 2023, is designed to manage complex family cases, particularly those involving high parental conflict. The program was a collaboration between the National Center for State Courts and the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona.

The Families in Transition (FIT) Parenting Course is a program offered by the Maricopa Superior Court of Arizona in partnership with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). This course is designed to support parents or families in dispute over parenting plans.

Here are some key details about the course:

•  Duration: The course is a 1.5-hour online program. However, please note that the actual time may vary depending on the individual’s pace of learning and interaction with the course materials.

•  Purpose: The FIT Parenting Course is not just another parenting program. It is specifically designed as part of an early case management approach to address the needs of families experiencing high levels of conflict during transitions like divorce or separation.

•  Content: The course leverages an internationally acclaimed film and evidence-based interactive exercises to focus on effective childhood development and communication strategies. All units of the course must be completed.

•  Certificate: Upon completion of all the modules, participants receive a certificate.

“Tommy” – A Tool for Change

Darren Mort’s film, “Tommy”, is an integral part of the FIT program. The film tells the emotionally-charged story of a young boy named Tommy who finds himself caught in the middle of a bitter custody battle.

The film serves as a tool to shed light on the often-overlooked victims of family separation – the children. It’s part of Darren’s broader efforts to give children a voice while navigating parental separation.

Through his work with the To Be Loved Network, Darren advances resources and support for children affected by parental separation, advocating for a system that prioritises their emotional and psychological well-being.

So, “Tommy” is not just a film, but also a tool for change and education in the context of family conflict and separation.

Judge Bruce Cohen and future plans

Judge Bruce Cohen’s journey and the impact of “Tommy” highlight the importance of empathy and understanding in the legal system, particularly in family law.

The Families in Transition (FIT) program, which was introduced in September 2023 as a collaboration between the National Center for State Courts and the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona, is being expanded.

Given its demonstrated benefit, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is working to make this course available to parties nationwide. The insights, methodologies, and tools that FIT encapsulates could benefit families everywhere.

Judge Bruce Cohen’s  contributions, both in his legal career and community involvement, continue to inspire and bring about positive change in the lives of many families and children. His story is a beacon of justice, illuminating the path for future generations in the legal field.

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