It has been famously said that war is politics by other means. Unfortunately, what Clausewitz said of war and politics can be applicable to matters of family law. A divorce or child custody hearing can become a device used by parents to continue to wage war on each other after their marriage has ended.
A few weeks ago, we mentioned the case of a Michigan family involved in a child custody proceeding that had become so corrosive that the judge was forced to order the children into a juvenile detention facility in an attempt to restore the relationship between them and their father.
The judge believed the mother had so alienated the affections of the children that only a complete removal of the mother’s influence could restore the children’s relationship with their dad.
The mother this month moved to remove the judge, claiming the judge is biased against her and has favored her husband. Of course, many litigants feel this way towards a judge when they lose a ruling.
If you believe a judge in your case is biased, you and your attorneys will need to produce very strong evidence in order to obtain a ruling in your favor. Accusing a judge hearing your case of bias is a very risky claim because it calls into question the core function of a judge, that of being impartial.
This can backfire, and will certainly go a long ways towards alienating the judge, which ensures that all of your subsequent arguments will be heard by a skeptical and irritated court.
In this case, it seems likely that the children, ages 9, 11, and 14, could potentially “age out” of the custody process, with appeals lasting through their high school years.
Source: Detroitnews.com, “Judge won’t quit custody case; hearing resumes Tuesday,” Mike Martindale, October 5, 2015