By Christine Fitzgerald Esq. | Seiden Family Law
Family Court, litigation, judges, attorneys, and judgments. These words can be intimidating for someone who has never been through the court system, and even for some who have. As a layperson, you are not expected to know what to expect when going to Family Court in New Jersey. That's why it's important to hire an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and take away some of the mystery.
If you're a litigant, here's what you can expect when going to court:
New Jersey is facing an unprecedented and catastrophic judicial vacancy crisis. As a result, litigants and attorneys may wait to see the judge long past the original scheduled time, regardless of whether the proceedings are virtual or in person.
Judges often suggest that litigants consider resolving their matter to save time, money, and stress, and to spare their children lengthy litigation. This usually involves a statement about parents being able to be in the same photo at the child’s graduation, wedding, baby shower, etc.
Your attorneys may have time to talk settlement while you wait for the Judge. The more issues you settle, the easier it becomes to settle the bigger, tougher issues.
In Chambers Conference: Judges may conference with the attorneys in chambers. This can be insightful into how the Judge is thinking about your case before you are on the record.
Being Sworn In
When the Judge calls your case, you and your attorney will sit at counsel table and be administered the oath. You should expect to be sworn to tell the truth, but most of the questions will be directed at your attorney.
You may leave court without knowing what the Judge is going to Order or what the decision will be.
You may be appearing and having your case heard in front of a room full of people, and whatever issues are being addressed will be for public consumption unless it is a confidential matter.
Even when your attorney knows the Judge well, there is no way to guarantee what a Judge will decide on any given day. The only way to eliminate the unknown is to settle your case and take ownership of the decisions being made.
Navigating a family law matter is stressful and confusing at times, but an experienced family law attorney should provide you with the tools necessary to have some expectations of what might happen in your case and options for resolutions.