In this article, we discuss the time and attention your case may get in Family Court versus mediation, how the common misconception that the Family Law Judge will always have time to carefully hear your issues and deliver “justice” is misguided and why mediation of your divorce may be the far better option – B. Robert Farzad
A common call to action couples going through an divorce use is “justice.” “I want what I am legally entitled to,” I hear husbands and wives state. Often, those who have had bitter breakups believe that “justice” or “legal entitlement” is a result that only the Court can truly give. They look at divorce mediation and settlement in general as a “compromise”, as if divorce mediators play the role of King Solomon and, figuratively speaking, “split the baby.” What these spouses don’t realize is the “justice” they seek and the “legal entitlement” they want is best reached through the careful and methodical review of the case, its facts and application of the law to those facts. Do you think the Family Court Judge has that kind of time? Let’s look:
1. Orange County Family Law Judges have thousands of cases on their “docket”. A “docket” is their inventory of files that are assigned to them. In any one day, an Family Law Judge could have 15 to 30 cases on his or her calendar, not including any “emergency” filings that have taken place that morning and which often take priority.
The morning starts at 8:30am. There is typically a 10-15 minute break before noon. The lunch hour is between noon to 1:30pm. The Family Court departments stops work at 4:30pm. How much time is that? About 6 hours and fifteen minutes. If the judge only has 20 cases on calendar, that is about 18 minutes of attention your case may get. Let’s not forget that domestic violence and custody cases take priority so if you’re going to Family Court with financial issues, get used to waiting. How much time is left now? 5 minutes? Maybe 10?
2. Your Family Law Judge probably hasn’t had a chance to read the file and look at your paperwork that you or your divorce lawyer have filed until the day before or morning of the hearing. When you consider how long it takes to read motions, orders to show cause, exhibits, etc. how much time do you think any judge could dedicate to your case? How well and clear do you think the Family Court knows your issues?
3. If you are lucky enough to be specially set for trial and have the Family Court’s attention for a day or so just on your case, you better move fast because if you don’t finish your case within the time estimate your divorce lawyer gave the Judge, the Family Court could order a “mistrial” and force you to come back months later and start the trial all over again.
Sound like fun? It’s not. Although Farzad Family Law’s Mediation Attorneys often avoid such situations through their skilled representation of their clients in Court, most divorce litigants who don’t have us go through this hurry up and stop system that causes delays and cases to go on for years.
Compare that to mediation of your Orange County divorce:
1. The pace of the family law case is dictated by you.
2. You can take 15 minutes in a mediation session or 8 hours and everything in between. Whatever you wish.
3. You have your divorce mediator’s undivided attention during meetings. We don’t have 30 other cases that day to worry about. If you want to meet all day, we can accommodate you. If it is a short meeting, we can do that too. Want to meet by phone or Skype? No problem.
4. The facts of your family law case are carefully discussed and analyzed. Your divorce mediation lawyer isn’t reading your paperwork while you are talking. He or she is prepared well before you walk into the meeting about the facts, issues and is there to help you reach resolution.
5. You are never rushed. The process doesn’t move slower than it should. So long as you and your spouse come prepared and give the mediation process your diligence and cooperation, the process will reward you with a settlement.
Do you want justice? Do you want to receive what you are “legally entitled” to? Don’t look at divorce litigation as your only choice. Litigation should be the last resort. Look at family law mediation and get results.