What To Do When the Judge Exhibits Bias in Your Family Law Case
Every case in family court is decided by one judge. A judge, like anyone, arrives at their job with their own opinions, experiences, and knowledge; this may sometimes include entrenched cultural biases. Family law cases can be negatively affected by cultural biases on the part of the judge, perhaps even more so than in other areas law as the traditional views of gender roles in a marriage can sometimes dictate or heavily influence the judge’s decision on child custody or other divorce-related issues. Every judge does have a sworn duty as a judicial officer to set aside any personal biases, but no human is entirely immune from letting personal bias influence their choices. If you are dealing with a family law judge who exhibits bias, there may be some things you can do to alleviate the situation.
Be Involved in Your Child’s Daily Life: We live in an age where women and men are frequently equal earners in a household, but traditional views on the roles of men and women in a family are rooted back hundreds of years. Sometimes divorcing couples will run across a judge who expects the mother to be ever-present in the lives of the children and equally expects the father to be the breadwinner, providing the financial support for the family.
Whether or not these expectations are fair is not the issue. If you are a mother attempting to balance a career and raising children, you could run into more stringent scrutiny if you are not present in your child’s day-to-day life attending school functions and extracurricular activities. Similarly, a father seeking joint or sole custody may end up battling long-held beliefs rooted in decades-long tradition that children should reside primarily with their mother. The best way to overcome this sort of bias is to not only be there for your child’s big moments but the little, day-to-day moments as well. Show up for classroom presentations, be there for lunch with Mom/Dad events, volunteer in the classroom, help with homework, know their coaches and teachers, etc.
Whether you are a mom seeking to overcome prejudice against working mothers or a father working to show that your role as a father does not end with financial support, you should be ready to show a genuine involvement and interest in your child’s life. If you feel there will be a child custody dispute, keep a record of your participation, so it is available if it becomes necessary to support your claim in court.
Be Reasonable and Classy: Another way to phrase this tip is to “take the high road.” Be a compassionate person whether you are standing in front of the judge, communicating in writing, or interacting with the opposing party. Try to avoid getting into any heated arguments with your soon-to-be-ex. In many cases, the individual who fosters negativity will lose credibility with the judge. It just isn’t likable to be nasty and while it isn’t a popularity contest, whether or not they like you can influence a judge’s decision. If your ex starts a mud-slinging match, rise above it and let them be the one to lose sympathy with the judge. If you are filing for divorce in California or seeing child custody, get in touch with an experienced divorce attorney at The Maggio Law Firm today. We have the skills and the experience to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your family law case.
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