We have previously discussed what to expect from yourself and from your divorce lawyer.  However, perhaps the most important person in the courtroom is the judge. After all it is the judge who will actually be deciding your case. That judge will have certain expectations of you and you should know what to expect from the judge.

1.              Expect the judge to expect you to follow the rules and the process. The judge will be juggling your case along with dozens of others. He or she will expect you and your attorneys to follow rules and procedure to work towards settling the case or narrowing the issues before trial. In following these rules and procedures, you will most likely be required to attend mediation, a settlement conference, other procedural hearings, and submit filings prior to a trial. While you may chafe under these requirements, rest assured the judge finds them very important. Failing to cooperate in any of these steps, will damage your credibility with the court.
2.              Expect the judge to limit the time you have to present your case. The judge will expect your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer to give the Court a time estimate of how long it will take to present the case for trial. The more time needed to present the case, the more difficult it will be to fit your case into the Court’s calendar. Nevertheless, giving the court an estimate too short is not wise either. It could lead to an upset Family Law Judge and your matter continued anyway. Alternatively, it could hamper your attorney’s ability to present your case. Many judges will keep a close eye on the time to present a case. If a case it set for three hours, your lawyer gets one and a half hours to present your side of things. The time limits placed on a hearing may have a bearing on what witnesses and evidence you are able to present at trial.
3.              Expect the judge to expect you to be civil and follow the rules and orders of court. Despite the anger you may feel against your spouse, the court will still expect a certain level of decorum in the courtroom. Fits of rage or emotional outbursts will not help your case in any way.
4.              Expect that you probably will not be completely happy with the Court’s decision. Judges encourage the parties to reach an agreement at every step of the procedure. If the Court is required to make a decision in your case, most judges operate with the same rule of thumb. That rule is simply, “if everyone walks out of the courtroom upset, the Court has probably been fair.” While I am not saying that I ascribe to this sentiment, it is one I have heard from several judges over the years.

Knowing what to expect of the person in control of your immediate fate and what that person expects from you, will increase your chances of success.

Photo courtesy of Sol M. Wurtzel (Internet Archive) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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