Mr. Martin has frequently served as a private judge (also sometimes called an Arbitrator) for those involved in a family law matter. He has served in this role in cases where the parties are represented by attorneys as well as in cases where one or both parties are representing themselves. He has served as a private judge in cases involving all sorts of family law problems: divorce, legal separation, modification of an existing order or judgment, and discovery disputes.
Similarly Mrs. Martin is skilled and able to serve as a private judge in the probate and conservatorship areas. She has substantial experience and patience, and can offer thoughtful rulings on complex issues that might affect your family.
If You Have an Attorney
For those who have an attorney, frequently the time and expense of going to court is burdensome and unacceptable. Both parties want the certainty that only a ruling on the issues can provide, but they want to avoid the bureaucratic delays, formality, and roadblocks that courts and clerks might impose before someone can appear have their day in court. These parties and their attorneys want an experienced practitioner who will spend an appropriate amount time with each party and will listen to all of the evidence. For those people, Private Judging is the solution.
In family law cases, Mr. Martin usually first meets with the attorneys to hone the scope of discovery. This step streamlines the discovery aspect of the case, and thereby reduces the fees and costs associated with gathering the factual data.
In probate matters, Mrs. Martin commonly begins the process with a conference to clarify the legal issues and focus on the most pressing matters first.
Another productive step they each frequently take is to meet with the attorneys, sometimes with and sometimes without the parties present, to discuss settlement options. If a settlement is not forthcoming, they can conduct a hearing with the same binding quality as the court, but without the attendant formality and cost. They can listen to the oral testimony and review the documentary evidence, and then render a thoughtful ruling.
If You Represent Yourself
Some parties are wary of ADR, and yet want a more speedy resolution than litigation traditionally offers. For them, private judging is a reasonable alternative to going to court.
Unlike mediation, where a mediator has no decision-making authority, a private judge makes factual determinations and delivers decisions that are binding on both parties.
The major advantage of private judging over traditional litigation is that you have access to speak with the Judge in your case. Some binding decisions (or orders) are made based on informal discussions, which rarely happens in traditional litigation.
The Next Step
If you think private judging might be appropriate for your situation, please call 650-340-1166 to discuss this process with Mr. or Mrs. Martin.
At Martin Family Law Firm we do not charge for calls inquiring about mediation or collaboration.