Litigation (In Private or Public Court)

When parties decide to litigate their disputes, they place the outcome in the hands of the family law court. Issues that a couple cannot resolve through negotiation or mediation require judicial intervention.

Litigation does not necessarily address every aspect of a divorce. It is not uncommon for parties to have a short-cause or long-cause trial on one issue and settle the remaining issues in their dispute. For example, a couple may settle matters like spousal support and asset division outside of court but pursue child custody orders from the court.

At Madigan & Lewis, LLP, we are child-centered and help parents resolve their parenting disputes by working with appropriate mental health professionals and going to court when necessary. Discover how our skilled California litigation attorneys can streamline the process by calling 650-482-8480 or reaching out online to schedule your consultation.

When Is Litigation Necessary in Divorce?

Litigation is generally more costly and time-consuming, but sometimes it is unavoidable. In these situations, working with an experienced litigation attorney is essential. We often represent clients who have determined that litigation is necessary because of issues such as:

  • The case involves high-conflict personalities on one or both sides.
  • Mediation has been attempted, but the parties could not resolve all issues.
  • One party is making unreasonable demands that would be unfair to the other.
  • Valuation issues.
  • Novel legal issues.

Taking the matter to court allows a judge to issue legally binding orders on the disputed issues enabling the parties to move on.

Litigating Divorce in Public and Private Courts

If you require judicial intervention in your divorce, you may choose between appearing in a public or private court. California has 58 trial courts, one in each county. In trial (superior) courts, a judge hears witness testimony and other evidence and then decides cases by applying the relevant law to the relevant facts. The California courts serve more than 39 million people in the state.

In public court, it can take months to hear requests for temporary orders, such as orders for temporary custody and child support, because many of our courts are overwhelmed due to budgetary cutbacks. Unfortunately, it can take even longer to obtain trial dates. A typical divorce takes about 18 months to resolve in the court system. Another important consideration for litigants is privacy. Public court proceedings are open to the public. And many family law proceedings are accessible to the public online. If privacy is a concern, private judging may be a better option.   

In contrast, private judges, also known as judges pro tem, tend to be more accessible as they typically manage fewer cases. Accordingly, case resolution tends to be faster. Unlike public judges, private judges are selected by the parties and paid an hourly rate for their services. They can also help ensure that the case is being managed efficiently. Like the public court system, orders issued by private judges are legally binding and can be appealed. Another key advantage is that personal information is kept private, as meetings and hearings are held outside the public court system.

At Madigan & Lewis, LLP, our attorneys are available to represent clients before both public and private judges.

Discuss Your Family Law Litigation Needs with Madigan & Lewis, LLP

At Madigan & Lewis, LLP, our attorneys are available to represent you in your divorce, whether you attempt to collaborate or pursue litigation immediately. You can learn more about how our California family law litigation firm can assist in your case by scheduling your consultation today.