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Why do some divorcing couples use private judges in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Divorce |

There are many different ways to handle divorce proceedings in California.

Some couples attend mediation sessions as a way to settle their disagreements with each other. When people simply cannot compromise and work together, then litigation is often necessary to divorce. The problem with litigation is that it can be unpredictable and expensive. It is also a public process that results in details about a marriage and divorce becoming part of the public record. As such, some couples choose to hire a private judge as a way to resolve conflicts outside of the family court system.

What is a private judge?

Most judges in California have authority because they work for the public. Every case that they hear in their courtrooms becomes part of the public record. Proceedings in a family court are potentially open to the public and produce written records that others can access after the end of the divorce case. A private judge is a professional with training in the law and is often a retired former family court judge. They essentially have the same authority as a family court judge without the public element. They also are able to provide more true to schedule meetings and contested hearings to accommodate busy schedules.

How a private judge can help

Private judges choose what cases they take, so hiring a private judge can be much faster than traditional divorce litigation. The judge can also help resolve conflicts. If spouses don’t agree about how to divide their property, share parental responsibilities and manage financial support, a private judge can help settle those issues, and ultimately decide on those issues.

The judge reviews details about the marital situation and interprets state law much in the same way that a family court judge does. The main difference is that the records of the hearings in front of a private judge don’t become public. For spouses who cannot reach an agreement, those who do not want to attend mediation or those who cannot settle disputes in mediation, a private judge might be the best option.

Exploring alternate ways of handling a California divorce may lead to enhanced privacy and reduced conflict at the end of a marriage. The decision to hire a private judge is a viable option that may expedite resolution.