Should I Let The Judge Decide?

Author:Ms Lynn Sirich
Profession:Dickinson Wright PLLC

Judges are elected or appointed officials serving the citizens of our communities. The majority of our judges are intelligent, empathic, possess a vast knowledge of the law and are experienced and wise. However, judges are also human and thus not immune from error or misjudgment. Putting your fate and your children's fate in the hands of someone you've never met can be risky. Your family division judge will only be reviewing a snapshot of your life. In addition, evidentiary restrictions may prohibit you from telling your entire story at trial.

Trial is also costly, time consuming and emotionally draining. Most courts are not able to conduct a trial over a consecutive period as their dockets are busy with other matters. Accordingly, you might have trial for a half day one month, and then two full days the next week or even the next month. And the end of trial does not mean the end of the case.

Once trial is concluded, your attorneys may be required to submit findings of fact and conclusions of law to the court. This is essentially each side's requested award from the judge but supported by the record and evidence submitted at trial. The judge then has to review the record, the parties' proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law as well as his or her notes and then render an opinion. This, of course, requires time which means more waiting. Even the final decision is not necessarily the end of the case.

Once an opinion and final order is issued by the court, an unhappy spouse has the right to appeal the trial judge's decision. This, of course...

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