It is getting more and more expensive to litigate divorce and paternity matters in our family law courts. If you have had occasion to visit a California Superior Courthouse lately, you can’t help but notice the long lines at the entrance and at most filing windows. This situation is not improving despite the end of the recession. The length of time it takes to put a non-emergency matter before the court is six to twelve weeks and if your matter is not a domestic violence restraining order or custody dispute it could be heard at the end of the day or another day. This is expensive as attorneys charge by the hour. Less expensive alternatives include uncontested divorce, collaborative divorce, mediation (very expensive if unsuccessful) and retention of a private judge. I facilitate all of the above.
Sometimes the parties are so far apart, there is no choice except litigation.
If this is the case, then depending on the status of the litigation, it may be beneficial to exercise discretion as to where to file your case. Currently, cases may be filed in the local Family Law Court Houses or downtown L.A. (Los Angeles). On a more limited basis, cases may be moved by requesting a change in the assigned Bench Officer (Normally, this will incur additional paid lawyer time and costs which may, or may not, be justified depending on your case).