What is a Private Judge?
A little known trick of the trade to getting a divorce settled quickly is to hire a private judge to hear the case. A private judge can either be a retired judge or a neutral attorney. Both parties must agree to proceed forward with this route, and your attorney must be the person to hire the private judge.
This may seem like a luxury only the rich can afford, but it may actually end up being more cost efficient since both parties split the cost of the private judge’s fees. Fees can range depending on who you hire, and for how long, so it is best to have a few options while presenting the idea to your spouse and his/her attorney.
It is important to note that not just anyone can become a private judge. These people must adhere to the same legal practices and ethics as public judges, and they have extensive experience with the law. Since they are former judges or neutral attorneys, private judges must be a member of your state’s bar.
A benefit of utilizing the option to hire a private judge includes having your case heard sooner than it would be in public court. Instead of waiting for the court to fit you in on their calendar, and then ordering you to appear (on a day that may be inconvenient for you, your attorney, or the opposing party), you have the option to select which day(s) you would like your case to be heard. This provides both parties more flexibility since they don’t have to depend on the court’s schedule.
Another great benefit of hiring a private judge is the fact that you get to pick who hears your case. Granted, you must get approval from your spouse and their attorney, but being able to choose who will decide the outcome of your divorce can be reassuring and make a normally stressful situation easier.
If privacy is a concern, retaining a private judge might be in your best interest. While the court records would still be public (unless you are able to get them sealed), the hearing itself will be closed to media and the general population. This is because a case being heard with a public judge would be held in an open court room, which means anyone could just walk in and sit in on your hearing. Utilizing a private judge helps keep your case out of the public eye and off of the radar.
It is encouraged that you speak to your attorney to determine if hiring a private judge is the best option for your case. Contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates to find out more information about the divorce process!