Can you use a private judge for your divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | Divorce

If you’re someone who jealously guards your privacy, one of the most distressing aspects of your divorce may be how public everything becomes. If you have significant assets or a fairly high-profile life, the thought of having all of your private business laid out in the public record can feel like a punishment on top of an already difficult time.

You have options. The Texas Family Code permits civil matters like divorce to be heard by private judges. Most of these judges are retired justices who have served on the bench at some point in the past, so they’re generally well-equipped to handle the tasks associated with divorce cases and can make binding judgments. (They cannot, however, oversee a jury trial.)

When you and your spouse decide to use a private judge, you front the cost of the judge’s services together — in place of the taxpayers who would normally pay the judge’s salary in the public court.

The benefits of a private judge include:

  • Ease of scheduling: If you have a complicated professional life, you don’t necessarily want to be at the mercy of a crowded court docket.
  • The time savings: Your case won’t have to wait in line to be heard by the next available judge, which means your divorce can be over sooner.
  • Knowledge of the judge: You can pick a judge who has a reputation for being level-headed and fair.
  • You retain your privacy: The hearing takes place in a private room and the details can remain private.

Whatever your divorce needs are, you have options that can be explored. Find out how an experienced attorney can help.