Divorce can be an emotionally and financially draining experience. One way to make the process smoother is by opting for a private judge instead of a traditional courtroom judge. Known as a “judge pro tem,” retired judges or experienced attorneys can be hired to render legally binding decisions about your divorce.
When a private judge is hired jointly by the parties, the judge pro tem is authorized to make legally binding decisions on your divorce case. A judge pro tem is often used in high-profile, celebrity cases, but their use is gaining favor with professionals, business owners, and others.
Private judges are often available more quickly than traditional courtroom judges which can be of significant benefit, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic which has created a backload of court cases. This means that your divorce case can be resolved more quickly, reducing the amount of time and money you spend on legal fees. Although the hiring of a private judge does result in a payment to the private judge, the time saved in scheduling ultimately still results in a more cost-effective solution.
A private judge can also be hired to make decisions about discreet or limited issues, without being forced to decide all of the issues. The terms of the judge pro tem’s appointment can be limited in scope and as such, the use of a judge pro tem may help your family better meet the unique goals of your family, rather than apply a one-size-fits-all approach.
Another benefit to hiring a judge pro tem, is that the parties through their lawyers, have control over the selection of their judge. In a traditional case, the parties and their lawyers often will not know who their judge is until the morning they appear in court. That judge may have had little family law experience during their legal career prior to becoming a judge. When hiring a private judge, the parties are able to choose a private judge who has specific experience and knowledge of more difficult family law matters which can be a huge advantage in complicated custody and financial cases.
Whatever your situation, we know that divorce can be stressful – but you don’t have to go through it alone. Experienced legal guidance can help you understand all of your options as you move forward.