How Do Judges Decide Divorce Cases?
Divorce can often seem like a one-sided game of tug-of-war with some of the highest stakes the average person will ever encounter. Homes, pensions, child custody agreements, and more are all on the line. To make matters worse, everyone wants what is “fair” but not necessarily what is “right.” An ex-wife might believe being “fair” means she takes half of her husband’s paychecks through alimony while he thinks “fair” is just 5% of his future earnings.
Fair is such a subjective word, it is strange to find it come up in a legal matter, something that is meant to be objective. How can a judge presiding over a divorce case in court rule on what is fair then, if both sides of the battle have two completely different ideas of fairness? The reality is that they can’t, and they won’t.
The Law Is the Law Is the Law
In many ways, a judge is the face of the law in a divorce court. The gown and the gavel are representative of the written word of the law, and so must be the judge who uses them. If the law states that you get to see your child on weekends but your ex-wife wants full custody, you get to see your child on the weekend. She may be quick to cry foul and see it as “unfair” but that is the law and the judge’s duty.
Unless you and your spouse work on an agreement outside of the court, fairness is going to be synonymous for legality. Only in rare cases will a judge step beyond their usual boundaries to more closely investigate what is fair and equitable. For example, if it became apparent that you did not fully understand your rights as a father and your ex-spouse was doing her best to exploit your uninformed comprehension, a divorce court judge might delay the proceedings until you sat down with a family law attorney.
Questions? Call Catherine W. Real, P.A.
In the end, you cannot bank on a judge’s own discretion when it comes to divorce matters. It is not that they do not care about what is fair so much as it is that they cannot take the time to fully investigate both your side of the story and your ex’s. This is where the help of a family law lawyer like Tampa Divorce Attorney Catherine W. Real excels. With her help, your chances of persuasively arguing your viewpoints in divorce court increase, possibly giving the judge more reason to rely on their own discretion. She can also help you avoid the courtroom altogether by using mediation first.