The Judge Should Know How Badly I Was Treated
Spouses entering the divorce legal system for the first time mistakenly believe they will get to speak their minds in court. Finally, someone will actually listen to what they’ve had to go through!
However, this rarely happens. In the first place, over nine out of every 10 divorcing spouses will reach a settlement before they ever get to speak to a judge.
More important, even those who actually do testify at trial do not get to say what they want to say. They are allowed to speak only when answering questions put to them by the lawyers, and the rules of evidence allow the lawyers to ask only what is legally relevant.
This rarely includes the injustices, the dishonesty, the betrayal, the adultery, the lies, the pain, the unfairness, and most of the other things that the parties think the judge should hear.
Instead, when deciding a case, the judge must stick to the relevant facts and the applicable law. The court is unable to consider the parties’ underlying humanity, which is the very fulcrum upon which the parties base their sense of justice and entitlement.
Simply put, the law is the standard by which the court will judge your case. Your emotions, feelings, and pain do not count in a courtroom. The judge will not even learn of these things, because they are not admissible.
The judge’s hands are often tied because the real boss in this context is the state legislature (the lawmakers) which tells the judge what he or she can or cannot do.
Judges determine what happens to real people in real-life situations. They have to look people in the eye and dispense what is often cookie-cutter justice. The lawmakers don’t have to look anything in the eye but another cigar; they do not see the faces and tears of those most affected by the laws they write.
Judges do the best they can, under the circumstances, to achieve equity and fairness. They try to give every litigant fair consideration, but they can go only so far. In the final analysis, the judges must follow the law as it is and not as it (so often) should be.