Litigation & Private Judge Settlements

Court or Private Judge

For many years the only approach to family law matters was to hire two attorneys and litigate matters in court. The attorneys prepared papers on behalf of their clients and the judge would hold a hearing and decide what would happen to the finances and the children. Nowadays the attorneys must meet and confer before most judges will hear the matter. Parents are seen by a court mediator who works with the parents to create a parenting plan.

Good family lawyers such as Ms. Holley and Mr. Blackman work to settle their cases and bring about resolution with the least amount of animosity.

Nevertheless, the preparation of the paperwork necessary to bring the matter before the court can be expensive and divisive. Clients need to use a Court when one party needs a protective order for domestic violence or unauthorized disbursal of funds and assets. Ms. Holley’s firm represents some select clients in court and custody matters, usually when the other side has already started the process in litigation and it is too late to mediate or use collaborative law.

Couple ArguingIf the parties do not want to wait for the Court Judge to find time to hear the matter, by agreement they may hire a private judge who will hear the matter at the convenience of the parties. The attorneys agree on the powers of the Private Judge and on the issues which need to be resolved. A confidential private trial is held on those issues and the ruling is submitted and filed with the Court.

Litigation Advantages and Disadvantages:

Litigation Advantages and Disadvantages


Although I wanted to pursue a collaborative settlement, my former spouse moved our case into litigation with a very expensive litigious law firm. Because Ms. Holley knew the law of our case better, she coached me and helped me thoroughly prepare my evidence…

– Roger S., San Francisco, CA