What Are Private Judges and Can You Use One in Your California Divorce?

People living in the Bay Area who want to end their marriage will typically file a petition for dissolution in the county where they reside and then wait for the courts to resolve any disputed issues in their cases. Divorce proceedings can take a long time, especially in counties where the dockets are overloaded. Some people may be able to obtain more expeditious relief, however, by proceeding with a private judge. If you are interested in ending your marriage and want to learn more about private judges and it whether it may be appropriate for you to use one, read our summary below, and then contact a Bay Area divorce lawyer for more insight.

What is a private judge?

In California, a private judge, as the name suggests, is an individual who does not sit on any court or work for the government. Instead, they are legal professionals hired by people to handle cases outside of the traditional court system. These individuals are typically retired judges or experienced attorneys with knowledge of the inner workings of the California courts. The use of a private judge is a type of alternative dispute resolution, similar to using a mediator or arbitrator.

What are the benefits of hiring a private judge?

One of the primary benefits of hiring a private judge is the ability to have more control over the scheduling and pace of proceedings, which can lead to a faster resolution of the case compared to the often lengthy delays in the public court system. Additionally, private judges offer parties greater flexibility in selecting a judge who may have specific expertise or experience relevant to their case.

How do I obtain a private judge in my divorce case?

To obtain a private judge in a divorce case in California, both parties must agree to use a private judge and submit a stipulation to the court outlining their agreement. The court then reviews and approves the stipulation, after which the parties can proceed with hiring a private judge. It’s important to note that both parties must consent to this arrangement, as it involves waiving their right to a public trial in front of a traditional judge.

Can my spouse and I hire a private judge to quickly handle my divorce case?

Yes, spouses can hire a private judge to expedite the handling of their divorce case. By bypassing the congested public court system, parties can often resolve their divorce more quickly and efficiently with a private judge. However, it’s crucial for both spouses to be in agreement about hiring a private judge and follow the proper procedures for obtaining one.

What are the costs for a private judge, and are the costs shared with my ex?

The costs associated with hiring a private judge can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case and the hourly rate of the chosen judge. Typically, each party is responsible for paying their share of the private judge’s fees, although the parties can negotiate how these costs will be allocated. Additionally, parties may also incur costs for court fees and administrative expenses related to the use of a private judge. It’s advisable for spouses to discuss and agree upon the allocation of costs before proceeding with hiring a private judge to avoid potential disputes later on.

Consult a Skilled California Divorce Attorney

The process of obtaining a divorce can be arduous, but private judges may help people dissolve their marriages more expeditiously and have more control over the process. If you want to learn more about private judges, it is smart to consult an attorney. The skilled California divorce attorneys of Bay Area Family Law Center can inform you of your options and help you determine how to proceed. You can contact us to arrange a conference by calling us at 925-258-2020 or by using our online form.

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