Why Is There So Much Variation Between Judges In Divorce Cases

Everybody has a friend or relative that has been through a divorce and they each have a story to share, but why are the results often so different? If I had two clients with marriages of similar duration, children of similar ages, assets with the same value would the results be the same if they did not settle and instead had a judge decide their case? Perhaps some parts of their case would be decided the same but there would be differences.

Would two judges decide custody and parenting schedules the same way or decide spousal support the same way, perhaps but not necessarily. The reason for this is that these two particular issues allow the court quite a bit of discretion based upon the testimony, credibility of the witnesses, assessment of the needs of the children and financial needs of the spouse seeking support. While there are many more factors involved in these decisions, I can only briefly explain the reasons for different results in a blog article.

Some judges will be ok with overnight visitation during the week of school age children and others will not be in favor of it; some judges will permit weekend parenting to end Monday morning while most will end the weekend Sunday evening. Some judges will order each party to keep any significant other away from the children during the divorce while others will say as long as the children are not suffering because of it then just use discretion in the type and frequency of contact.

One judge will say maintenance should be for a shorter duration and a different judge may say for a longer duration. The amount as well is very much in the discretion of the judge.

So how does a person going through a divorce know what to expect when there can be so much variation between judges? I believe that the key is to have an experienced matrimonial attorney who appears in front of the same judges with enough frequency that the attorney develops a sense of the judge's orientation on issue resolution. If the attorney attends a conference and the judge gives an indication of his thinking, the attorney must keep the client informed to help the client make cost saving decisions.

Please contact my office so that I may help you benefit from my many, many years of matrimonial litigation. Allow me to give you the benefit of my experience to help you through one of the most difficult times of your life.