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Do you have to appear before a judge during divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | Family Law

One of the most challenging processes to walk through is divorce. Aside from the emotional toll it takes, the legal part may overwhelm you.

If facing a judge unnerves you, you may want to consider getting your intended outcome a different way. While a judge must sign a decree, he or she does not need to decide things for you. Learn more about other avenues that may get your divorce complete without standing before the bench.

Why should you try to stay out of court?

Going before a judge takes some of the decision-making out of your hands. Couples who can compromise their marital issues outside of court may find it easier to move forward afterward. The issues that require settling before a judge signs a decree granting your divorce include:

  • Asset and debt division
  • Spousal support payments
  • Child custody
  • Child support

How can you avoid a judge?

Merely talking to your spouse does not equal hashing out a court-approved agreement. This especially proves true if you cannot agree on some or all of the issues. Luckily, two viable options may help.


During mediation, a third party acts to help negotiate hot-topic issues. A mediator cannot finalize an agreement, and if you cannot reach a resolution, you may return to mediation or go through court.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is a more formal mediation. The court appoints a neutral third party to oversee the negotiation and finalization of the terms of your divorce. The mediator in this action has the authority of a judge in some respects. You and your spouse may enter your final disposition on the record when reached, and the only remaining issue becomes a judge’s signature.

Working with your spouse outside of court allows for a better outcome in a difficult court action.


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