If your divorce is particularly messy and involves things that could embarrass either you, your spouse or both or you — it might be worth your while to consider hiring a private judge.
The notion isn’t new, but it is getting a little more attention these days — thanks to the sordid scandals of the Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner divorce. The former political “power couple” have withdrawn their divorce case from public court and will be ending things privately in order to keep anything else that isn’t already the object of public ridicule out of the news.
The move is motivated, at least partially, for their child’s sake. However, given that the former congressman is already in jail for his sexual antics, it’s very possible that his wife wishes to spare herself the added humiliation of having it all laid out in court again.
Ohio is one of the many states that allows the use of a private judge. While the method isn’t for everyone, here are some good reasons for considering that route if you can afford the cost:
- You don’t have to wait your turn in the docket to see the judge — which allows for flexible scheduling. In fact, it’s not necessary to appear in court at all — the judge can choose to meet with the parties in his or her office or another place of business.
- You have the advantage of keeping whatever goes on in the proceeding out of the public record. That may be particularly important if one spouse had an affair or there’s information about your assets that you don’t really want made general knowledge.
There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind about private judges:
- You and your spouse will have to agree to pay for the judge’s services.
- It’s better that you and your spouse can agree to all the terms of the divorce before you get before the judge — otherwise you still can end up with a result you don’t anticipate.
Using a private judge isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you want to consider for your divorce, your attorney can usually make the necessary arrangements.
Source: US News Money, “Should You Hire Your Own Private Judge?,” Geoff Williams, accessed Jan. 19, 2018