Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's all about the Judge

I guess this is a rant.

It is imperative to know that for all the pain, strife, suffering, indignity, humiliation and general bad times you have experienced in your now concluding marriage, your experience ranks second in importance in divorce court.

And no, your spouse's experience does not rank first.

The judge ranks first.

One of the hardest paradigm shifts for clients is moving from a subjective perception to an objective one.  The objective one is simple though: how will the judge look at this?

Absent a settlement (always a good idea if one is possible), the judge makes the decisions in divorce.  It is possible to ask that a jury make some decisions but that is a distraction from this point for now.  Because the judge makes the decision, how the judge perceives events is all that matters in divorce court.

Judge's won't do what you want.  That's not their job.  Their job is to listen as long as they have allowed to the salient issues necessary to separate assets and debts.  When necessary they make decisions about alimony, still mostly a financial consideration, and custody, which is a bit more keyed to custodial issues than whether your spouse refused to carry out the trash or have dinner ready when you got home. 

My job is to translate all that is personal and painful, helpful and hopeful from your life into almost soundbites that boil down your situation into information the judge needs to hear.  It is a hard paradigm shift to make, but it has to be made before expectations yield demands to the bench which alienate the judge and greatly prejudice the case.  Translated:  don't tell the judge what they have to do because it will make them angry and hurt your case.

The good family lawyer is an excellent translator.  Know that we care and care deeply.  Know that we get it.  But know also that we know the judge and know that the judge has a thousand other cases with no end in sight, so their focus is different than yours.

Yep, it's a rant. 

Let us help you to help yourself.

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