Private judging is an alternative to public court. Rather than holding hearings at a public courthouse, you can hire a private judge to help make decisions related to your property division, custody and support issues. Both parties and their attorneys (if applicable) participate in the process. At Viola Law we have a retired Commissioner/Judicial Officer who is knowledgeable about family law. She will preside over your divorce with fairness and neutrality.
The Advantages of Private Judging
There are many benefits to hiring a private judge to hear your divorce, property, custody and support issues, including:
- Personal information remains private, as meetings and hearings are held outside of the public court system. Personal details like financial information and custody details can remain confidential.
- Faster resolution as the private judging process is more efficient than traditional public divorce court proceedings because you have direct access to your private judge. There is no backlog of cases with a private judge and she controls her own schedule, unlike public court.
- Retain your right to appeal. While the private judge’s ruling is legally binding, you do not lose your right to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal.
- Choose a qualified and impartial private judge that has deep knowledge in the areas of family law most relevant to your situation. In public court you may be assigned a judge with limited or no family law experience.
- Less stress as private judging is held in private and you are assured that an experienced neutral party is deciding on your case. Private judging can help you resolve issues that arise during or after a divorce.
How to Hire a Private Judge
- Starts with a phone call. We’ll start with some background information about your marriage, family and what the issues are. We’ll also discuss the private judge’s experience specific to those issues.
- Both parties agree to the private judging process. It is important that both parties agree on hiring a private judge as the decisions reached are legally binding.
- Arrange details of your case including timeframes, documentation sharing and other important logistics.
- Hold hearings so both parties or their attorneys can present evidence and other relevant information.
- A Decision Is Made. After hearing both sides,your private judge will make a decision on your case in a timely manner. In public court there can be delays in getting on to the judge’s calendar. With a private judge, scheduling is more flexible and responsive.
Choosing Viola Law for Your Divorce
Viola Law has a reputation for excellence in family law. Hon. Kathleen McKenna, Retired Commissioner, has more than 20 years of experience in family law. She was hired as Commissioner of the Superior Court in San Mateo County in 2001. She has over a decade of experience presiding over thousands of disputes related to custody, support and property division. Now in private practice, Commissioner McKenna is a divorce mediator as well as private judge. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center in San Mateo.
Have more questions? Check out our Private Judging Q&A.