The Divorce Process: Let me Introduce You to the Judge

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

If you live in France, you might soon be able to get divorced without a judge. I just read an article about how the country is considering altering its divorce process to allow court clerks to approve divorces of couples who have a settlement agreement in order to free up time for busy divorce judges. You know what I say about that? Good for France!!


Anyone who has ever been through the divorce process can tell you all about divorce judges, the people who are making life decisions for you if you are in litigation.


Divorce judges are beyond busy. They walk into work every morning and spend their days hearing case after case after case. And this goes on for years and years and years.


Divorce judges have heard it all. Nothing surprises them. They have listened and listened and listened and listened, and in my opinion, many of them just can’t listen anymore. They’re just spent, I guess, burned out, possibly.


I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of divorce judges. I have the utmost respect for them, and quite frankly, anyone put in their position would most likely grow tired and weary, and possibly just become immune to a lot of things they hear. It would be almost impossible for a divorce judge to really hear the details and stay fresh for every single case.


While in litigation, a few things can happen. One, (and this actually happened to me,) the judge was out ill—twice!!—and I had to pay my attorney for the trips to court. Two, the judge could side with the person who has the more convincing attorney. Three, the judge could order mediation, so that the parties have the possibility of reaching an agreement on something by themselves, or four, the judge just makes a decision (hopefully the right one.)


So, what are the solutions after knowing this? A few:

1. Pick your battles: Don’t fight for petty things. Don’t tell your attorney to tell a judge that your ex doesn’t want to pay for your son’s birthday party. It will cost you $1700 to get back $200. Don’t tell your attorney to tell the judge that your ex didn’t adhere to your custody agreement for two days last month, or that he was 3 days late with the child support payment. Why? Because honestly, judges don’t care!! They can’t care. They don’t have the time to care. They care about the big stuff. So save the big stuff for the judge, suck it up, and figure out the little things with your ex.

2. Avoid litigation all together: If you can mediate, you will save so much money! Mediation involves a lot of swallowing your pride and making it work with your ex. Not easy, but a lot cheaper and more peaceful for what will probably be the same result.

3. Put yourself in the mindset of the judge. Try to imagine what it would be like and then decide how much you want (or don’t want) your judge involved.


I understand, of course that in some instances litigation cannot be avoided. But just remember, judges don’t give attorneys a lot of time. Your attorney must get right to the point. He or she wouldn’t be wise to tell the judge that your ex swears in front of your kids, or that he had his girlfriend sleep over there after only a month of dating, or that she talked badly about you to your children. These things aren’t good, but they aren’t big enough to get slotted into a judge’s agenda.  In divorce court, there is no time for details. It might be a rotten thing to say, but it’s true: That’s what therapy is for.


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

9 Responses to “The Divorce Process: Let me Introduce You to the Judge”

  1. DTrevino

    You nailed it. Parties want the judges to know every detail. Even though the details are important to the parties, the judges will have heard far worse details–on a daily basis. The judges are looking for how these facts interact with the law so that the judge can make a decision.

  2. James Smith

    I agree with you. Don’t involve judges in petty things. They will not be impressed. They want to find the best solutions that fit in with the law.

  3. Singles Warehouse Online Dating Magazine

    Point 1 is so important.

    The pointless battles DO NOT need to be fought! There’s no need.

    Try to remember that you loved each other at some point and work together.

  4. Tammy

    I have been trying now for over 9 years to get what was due me in my divorce! It was proven my ex makes over $200,000.00 a year and can get a judge to abide by the Law and do what’s right! He tells the court he only makes &19,000.00 a year! I have a professional auditors do his books, and the Judge tells me my motion to change my Spousal Maintenance I’d Moot!! I haven’t even got any of my personal items back in the divorce!! Where is the JUSTICE in all of this BS!! Any advice


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