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If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may dread the thought of litigation.

While you try to reach an agreement on various matters, divorce in court could take many months if not years. However, you have other options, one of which is hiring a private judge for your divorce.

Appointing a private judge

Both Article VI of the California Constitution and section 638(a) of the Code of Civil Procedure permit parties to appoint a private judge and to specify the kind of authority this judge, also called a referee, should have. A private judge can hear any or all of the issues pertaining to your divorce and can render a decision.

Exercising privacy and control

A traditional divorce in court is a public event. Many couples, especially those who have accumulated significant wealth, prefer privacy. Options such as mediation and collaborative divorce offer confidentiality and so does having a referee or private judge. There is also the matter of control. With a private judge on board, the divorcing couple can control litigation in a way that is not possible in court. The couple can give their decision-maker sufficient time to review any matters under consideration. Moreover, the couple can move forward with scheduled hearings and trial dates.

Employing the personal approach

Many Californians are not aware that divorcing couples can engage the services of a private judge. However, this option is frequently used by parties with significant wealth who prefer a more focused approach to divorce and who wish to stay out of the public eye.