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 worsening due to the current and predicted budget cuts and the resulting court closures and reduction in services. The length of time it takes to put a non-emergency matter before the court is increasing and my average time spent in court waiting to be heard is also increasing. It is now even more important to narrow down issues brought before the court to only those that cannot be resolved by negotiation or any other method. Less expensive alternatives include uncontested divorce, collaborative divorce, mediation 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).