The Unwritten Rules of Divorce Court
Navigating through divorce can be very difficult. You can expect to experience a range of emotions while dealing with the continued conflict with your soon to be ex spouse. But what you may not expect to fall victim to the unwritten rules that govern divorce court. These “unwritten rules,” are the rules that define how judges and lawyers conduct themselves when working with each other. These unwritten rules will have more to do with the outcome of a divorce case than the written rules.
Rule 1: Judges and Lawyers are on the same team
In most cases, Judges that preside over family court and divorce cases are elected and lawyers in that community help get these judges elected by donating time money or both to the Judge’s election campaign and fund raisers. Judges and lawyers rely on each other for assistance and protection. Most judges and lawyers will not report each other for misconduct or violations of judicial ethics. Judges especially, can get away with bad behavior because they know a lawyer will turn a blind eye in order not to get on a judge’s bad side. Lawyers know they will appear in front of that judge again and staying chummy with the judge is more important than one client getting a fair trial and expert legal advise.
Most judges and lawyers are friends outside the courtroom, especially if you live in a small community. Your lawyer knows the judge and her lawyer knows the judge as well. Don’t be fooled, it is usually very difficult for a judge to remain impartial if he or she is a better buddy with one lawyer. If you get lucky, you’ll hire the attorney the judge is closer with.
Rule 2: Your Divorce Case will Likely End in Settlement
Some divorce lawyers are known to mislead clients into believing that they will actually go to trial and be better off if they do. Remember divorce attorneys make money on your divorce. The longer you fight, the higher your legal fees will be only to end up reaching a settlement. Get out as quick as you possibly can. This is a negotiation. Assets must be divided. The clock is ticking and each hour spent can add up quickly as billable hours. Decide now what is an absolute deal breaker for you and what doesn’t matter too much.
No one gets everything they want during divorce. You’re going to find this out pretty soon but my advice is to stay calm and to be smart. Don’t get caught up in anger or revenge. You’ll spend more in legal fees fighting over a dining table than it’s worth.
If you are not able to reach a settlement because your spouse is irrational and still wants to fight but you can force the system to move quicker by thinking clearly and suggesting reasonable solutions to the issues.
Rule 3: Judges only want to deal with lawyers
Judges don’t want regular people to talk to them. They expect everyone to have a lawyer who will do the talking for them. Although your lawyer doesn’t actually talk to a judge but he merely requests permission from the judge to allow him to do something. The reality is the judge within the first few minutes of this case knows exactly how he will rule and there is really nothing you will be able to do that will change that. Through out your case, a Judge will hint and basically advise that this is how he or she will rule. A good lawyer will take those hints and advise their client on how to proceed rather than prolong the case.
During divorce there will be many things out of your control, try to concentrate on what you can control and focus on that. Keep your emotions in check and think with a clear head when it comes to making a decision.Don’t sign on the dotted line just to get out. This is a legal document and will affect your life for years to come.