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How Do Judges Decide Divorce Cases?

In New York State, a Judge, not a jury, will hear your divorce case and that person is the sole person who decides what happens in your divorce case.  As with every case, a Judge will listen to the evidence and testimony of the parties.  However, unlike most cases, it doesn’t matter who the Plaintiff is and who the Defendant is.  Also, unlike most cases, neither party is “guilty” or “innocent” or “at fault”.  Instead, in a divorce, both parents come to the Court on equal footing and each parent must demonstrate that they should prevail in the different areas that will be determined.

Most importantly, only about 1% to 5% of divorce cases actually go to trial.  Therefore, although, a Judge will preside over your divorce, it is only in the rare instance of a trial, that a Judge actually “decides” your entire divorce case.  However, an exception to this is that throughout the litigation of your divorce (which will be many months and may be 1 to 3 years), a Judge may make several rulings that will affect the final outcome or final trial decision of your divorce.

From the start of the divorce case until a trial, there will be many court conferences.  Although, every Judge handles their court conferences differently, in general terms, at a court conference, the Judge determines the basic facts of the case.  Depending on the Judge, in some court conferences, the Judge will indicate their general opinions about your divorce.  These informal opinions are not formal orders or rulings; however, they do indicate which way the Judge is leaning towards.

Furthermore, before a trial, there may be temporary orders or decisions that apply while the divorce case is pending.  Some examples of these temporary orders are: (i) temporary order of child support; (ii) temporary orders of attorney fees; and (iii) temporary orders of spousal maintenance.

If there is a trial, the Judge will hear the testimony, evidence, rule on any objections and sometimes ask the witness some of their own questions.  The Judge will apply the evidence that is heard to the facts of the case.  Once the trial is concluded, unlike what you see at the movies or on television, it is extremely rare for a Judge to issue a decision “from the bench”.  Instead, the Judge will issue a written decision which is usually mailed (or emailed) to the attorneys.  Typically, a Judge’s written decision will come in 2 – 4 weeks after the conclusion of the trial.

A Judge will be one of the most important parts of your divorce matter. Each Judge handles their divorce cases differently.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. has extensive experience with all the Suffolk County and Nassau County Judges.  Mr. Badanes is well respected and knows that the Judges want a divorce attorney who is honest and does not waste their time.   If you are contemplating a divorce or just served divorced papers, then you should call David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes can be contacted at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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