Judges can accept or deny any formal plea heard before the court. This is called “Judge’s Prerogative,” which is defined as an exclusive right held by an individual or group, especially a hereditary or official right.
In contested divorce cases, however, exists perhaps the most frequent use of prerogative. For example, a family law attorney south bay can file pretrial motions in which the judge exercises prerogative in determining the merits of judgment. In this case, it is wise to follow some simple “do’s and don’ts” to ensure a more favorable judgment.
Negotiate Beforehand and Keep Demands Reasonable
It’s amazing what judges will allow if all parties agree even when the agreements are not explicitly allowed under the law. In other words, if you do not alienate your soon to be ex and keep your demands reasonable, you are more likely to be awarded the things that are important to you. Pretrial “give and take” negotiations may be possible, however, but weighing intangibles such as pets and other personal belongings are of little interest to the court – work it out the peanuts beforehand!
Avoid Web Confessions
Although it may be therapeutic to publish your thoughts and feelings on the Internet, avoid posting anything about your case at all costs! When you proffer information for the world to see, guess who else can access it? Your spouse’s attorney and anyone else whose job it is to collect evidence against you, such as a private investigator. Besides, such feelings are temporary and you don’t want to risk damaging your character before court. Do yourself and your attorney a favor by staying offline when it comes to your feelings.
Do not lie to your attorney or in court about anything. This includes lying about marital assets or failing a drug test. Be transparent no matter what. Getting caught in a lie makes it difficult for the judge to discern facts, and worse yet, from believing you even when what you say is true. Fight fair, stick to providing facts and avoid saying anything bad about your spouse. The manner in which you conduct yourself, the transparent litigant, is perhaps the best asset you have control over.
Court Is Not A Contest
Any family law attorney will attest to the fact that Court is not the place to wage a contest, for it is neither in the Court’s interest to pick a winner nor does picking one fall within the scope of prerogative. The Court’s job is to weigh the facts and adjudicate according to the facts, and that is it. It also important to note that in cases involving children, the child’s best interest virtually guides all final decisions.
Pick Your Attorney(s) Carefully
The uncertainties that intrinsically come with navigating through legal mine fields can be easily mitigated by hiring the right attorney. You can’t change what happened, pick the judge or change the law, but an experienced attorney can give you good advice in terms of what to expect and what’s worth pursuing or not. As in most cases, it is good to rely on referrals; but in cases where that’s not possible (e.g., life is perfect and nobody around you has ever needed or hired an attorney) it is always good to shop around and interview potential barristers. Just like any interview, go with your gut when making a decision after conducting interviews.