This article was written by retired attorney David Thomas
COMMUNICATING with the JUDGE
Your assigned Judge will never communicate with you outside of court
Parties involved in high conflict divorce/paternity matters quite often believe that if they could just talk to the judge privately, and explain how they feel, and how evil the other parent truly is, then the judge would give them what they want.
Some misguided parties actually try calling the judge’s office, asking to speak with the judge about their case, and are surprised to find out that the judge’s assistant will not connect them because the judge DOES NOT communicate with parties except in a courtroom with both parties present. Other parties try bending the rules in their favor by sending the judge a letter, hoping to secretly voice their version of the case without the other parent knowing. The letter will be returned to the sender, unread, OR the judge will file it with the clerk of court (without reading it) and take note of the parent who attempted an improper ex parté communication.
If a judge does communicate in writing with a party, (or both parties,) it is always with a court order.
However, if a judge ever deemed to send a letter to the parties (which will never happen), this (fictional) letter might read like this. Take heed.
I am the judge assigned to your divorce/paternity case.
I hope to never meet you. I assure you I will never meet your
The only reason I have been assigned to your case is that
you cannot make your own decisions, OR that one or both of
you is acting inappropriately by violating the law. In these cases,
I have the authority to issue orders telling each of your WHEN
you are allowed to see your children, and DICTATING the terms
of child support, property division, etc. If my orders are not
obeyed, I may hold you in contempt of court and you could
be sent to jail.
I am surprised every day by parents who proclaim to love their
children and insist they are only trying to do what is in "the child's
best interest," but then, allow me, a total stranger, to set the rules
of life for them (and their children) because they are too angry or
stubborn to work together to come to an agreement. Wouldn't you
rather make these major decisions for yourself?
If you insist upon allowing me to make major life decisions for you,
be assured that both parties will be disappointed, because the reality is
that parents together will make much better decisions for their
children then a total stranger.
I will not allow you to use me to punish the other parent and I
promise you, I will NOT be fair. A judge’s oath requires me to
follow the law, not to favor, or be fair toto one party over the other.
Do not make the mistake of calling your children as witnesses to
testify against the other parent, or telling me what a great parent
you are. Do not put the children in the middle of your war.
Many parents make the mistake of insisting upon a trial so they
can tell me how they “feel.” They seem to think it important that
the judge understand their perspective. Believe me, I already know
and understand your perspective when your obvious goal is to
minimize the time your child spends with the other parent.
- You are emotionally in pain. Your dreams of happily ever
after have been crushed. Your vision of the future has been altered
and the need to hurt your co-parent is overwhelming your good judgment.
- You are hurt when the children spend time with your co-
parent; you suffer anxiety and fear that the children will love them
more than you.
- You are overlooking the fact that children need and love
both their parents, and unlike the romantic love once shared by
their parents, the children’s love will not fade or disappear
over time. The romantic love was destroyed by incompatibility;
a child’s love is not dependent upon that factor.
- You claim that your motives are pure and you are only
thinking about what is best for the children, but you are
forgetting that I will be enforcing the right of children to spend
time with their parents—not the right of parents to spend time
with their children.
- Your anger and pain and intense need to strike back will
motivate you to try to convincing me that your co-parent is
unworthy of spending as much time with the children as you.
I am not here to punish a parent because of their failings
as a spouse.
The litigation process that ends in a trial will leave scars
on both parents and add to the hostility that already exists. You
and your children will pay a heavy price if you go down this road.
Be aware that a trial and final judgment is not even final.
There can and will be rehearings and costly appeals and later
modifications (under certain circumstances). If you are looking for
justice, fairness and finality, you will not find it in my courtroom.
I look forward to receiving a signed agreement rather than a
request for trial.
[Your Circuit Judge]