Staying Out of Court

courtThere really is no such thing as “your day in court.” The desire (or fantasy) that if only we had a chance to tell our story, a judge would understand the justice of our cause and the right outcome will result. I say to those people, “Forget about it.” First of all, if there are two people in a legal dispute, both of them feel that justice is on their side. The folks in the robes making the decision are going to take the argument of the other person very seriously. For years I have heard people in courthouse hallways after their day in court stunned at the decision. Sometimes they are shocked because they are so polarized from the other person that they can’t imagine anyone taking their spouse seriously. Other times, they lose in court because the judicial officer was overworked, impatient, biased, irritated at some inconsequential thing they or their lawyer did or simply weren’t paying attention. Many hearings in divorce are early in a case and seem over before they begin. You only get to tell your story in 20 pages and your lawyer only gets to talk for 5 minutes. Next time you opt for having a court decide your future, rather than sitting down with your spouse and a neutral mediator, you may want to think again.