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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, November 8, 2019

Can I Get a Different Judge in My Divorce Case?

In Michigan, there is a separate court referred to as the family division of each circuit court that handles all of the divorce, alimony, custody and related matters.  Each case is assigned to a judge and that judge will hear all of the matters associated with that case.  This means that a judge can be assigned to a particular family's case for a very long time, particularly where there are alimony issues or custody issues that can be litigated until each child in the family turns eighteen. 

It is very important to make a good impression with the judge every time you are in front of the judge because she or he will remember how you acted if the judge has to make decisions regarding your case further down the line.  When filing for divorce or appearing in court, everyone should have an attorney and it is essential to at least consult with a Michigan divorce lawyer to learn about potential pitfalls of appearing before the court.

Can I Change the Judge Assigned to My Divorce? 

The short answer is no.  If you form a bad impression with the judge and the judge continues to hold that against you, there is very little you can do to have the judge changed.  The case law states that “the mere fact that a judge ruled against a litigant, even if the rulings are later determined to be erroneous, is not sufficient to require . . . reassignment.” This is true even if the erroneous rulings were “vigorously and consistently expressed” by the trial court. (citations omitted)

Really, according to the common law, a judge's negative decision about you or decisions about your case, in and of themselves, almost never constitute a valid basis for a motion alleging bias, unless the judicial opinion displays a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible and overcomes a heavy presumption of judicial impartiality (quotation marks and citations omitted). This is really an almost impossible burden of proof so essentially you will be stuck with that judge.  But sometimes judges retire and when a new judge is elected, there can be a shuffling of cases between judges, so you may get lucky, the divorce bench is very difficult for a judge and many move over to another division of the court.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney to Discuss a Divorce Strategy That Is Right for You

You do not want to go in front of the judge on any serious issue without having an attorney prepare the proper documentation and represent you in court.  The judge you see will often be the judge that is assigned to you for the life or your case, which can be very long where there are children or alimony is involved.  Contact Michigan divorce attorney Cameron C. Goulding today. You can be assured that he will help you make the proper impression on the judge when you have to appear in court.  

 

 

 

 


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